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Kurdistan’s Prime Minister seeks dialogue to end the present crisis

Kurdistan’s Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani

The Kurdistan Regional Government is presently calling upon the international community including the United States, the EU and the UN to intervene in order to bring the Central Government in Baghdad to the negotiating table: “The restrictive policies adopted by Baghdad against Erbil are in violation of Iraq’s obligations and responsibilities under international and humanitarian law, and its duty as a state to respect and protect its citizens, including those displaced, and to promote and protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of individuals and groups.”

According to the Kurdistan Regional Government, reducing the Kurdistan Region’s budget in the 2018 Draft Budget Bill without involving the Kurdistan Regional Government, closing off the Kurdistan Region’s airspace, and travel restrictions are among measures of collective punishment being implemented by the Central Government in Baghdad against the Kurdistan Region. In fact, Kurdistan’s Prime Minister Nichervan Barzani stressed that the Iraqi Central Government has even stopped sending medical supplies to the Kurdistan region, even though the area recently suffered a horrendous 7.3 magnitude earthquake. The KRG stressed that these measures adversely affect 1.5 million displaced persons who have taken refuge in the Kurdistan region.

“With winter fast approaching, many displaced persons, including Yezidis, Christians, and recently displaced people from Kirkuk, Tuz Khourmatu and other areas, will be without critical supplies, specialized assistance, and care provided by UN agencies, NGOs, and other international organizations,” the KRG statement read. “Erbil and Suleimaniya airports are vital to meet the humanitarian needs of displaced people and the basic needs of our general population, including emergency medical evacuation of civilians as well as victims and military personnel wounded in the fight against ISIS. Moreover, restriction of movement is detrimental to peace, stability and progress in a globalized world.”

As we speak, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi refuses to engage in dialogue with the Kurdistan Regional Government. Furthermore, he wants the Peshmerga to become part of the “Iraqi government security forces or a small local force.” He added: “All border crossings in and out of Iraq must be under the exclusive control of the federal state.” This would include the Kurdish oil pipeline to Turkey, which is a major source of income for the Kurdistan Regional Government.

As Abadi seeks additional punitive measures against the Kurdistan Regional Government, Kurdistan’s Prime Minister Nichervan Barzani calls for dialogue: “The Kurdish government and political parties are ready to fully engage in negotiations with Baghdad in order to resolve all disputes through understanding and based on the constitution. The KRG is ready for talks that would achieve the best interests of Iraq and the Kurdistan region. We don’t think that these issues can be solved militarily. They need serious political talk.”

“The UN, EU, ICRC, the US and NGOs, and other members of the international community are essential to serve the humanitarian needs of displaced people hosted by the Kurdistan Regional Government,” the Kurdistan Regional Government stressed. The Kurdistan Regional Government seeks American and international assistance in bringing Iraq to the negotiating table. All of the parties should help Barzani to overcome this crisis. He needs the international community to force Iraq to overcome this crisis for without their assistance, the situation for one of America’s strongest allies in the region is seriously deteriorating.

“We call on the international community to intercede in urging Baghdad authorities to lift the embargo, without condition, on international flights,” the Kurdistan Regional Government emphasized. “The international community’s attention and action would be deeply appreciated in mediating and lifting air embargos and other collective restrictions in order to minimize and avoid adverse effects on vital humanitarian services, health and education services, food security, security against terrorism, jobs and income security in the Kurdistan Region.”

 

Author

Rachel Avraham
Rachel Avraham

Rachel Avraham is a senior media research analyst at the Center for Near East Policy Research and a correspondent for the Israel Resource News Agency. She is based in Israel and publishes in a variety of media outlets throughout the world. She is the author of "Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings in the American, Israeli and Arab media." Avraham has an MA in Middle Eastern Studies from Ben-Gurion University and a BA in Government and Politics with minors in Jewish Studies and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Maryland at College Park.

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