Kurdish leader: meetings approach detente between Baghdad, Erbil

Kurdish citizen raising flag of the Kurdistan Region.

Erbil ( A series of declared and secret meetings between officials in Baghdad and Erbil were have been held over the past week preparing to reach a solution of pending disputes, a Kurdish politician said Wednesday.

Mulla Bakhtiar, a senior leader at the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, said in statements on Wednesday, quoted by Alsumaria News, that talks in Baghdad between the central government and the Kurdistan Region government signal a “detente” in the crisis.

He added in later statements on social media, quoted by Shafaq News that the meetings have shown that “Baghdad is pretty prepared for dialogue, while the Kurdistan government is working on setting the suitable atmosphere to that end”.

Bakhtiar noted that a parliamentary delegation from Kurdistan plans to visit Baghdad soon.

“Officially, there will be no clash between Iraqi forces and (Kurdish) Peshmerga troops,’ Bakhtiar stated. “The issue of land and air ports, as well as customs, are currently being handled thoroughly, and after those are resolved, an action plan will start to resolve the budget, payments and disputed territories’ issues”.

Bakhtiar urged the Kurdish government to hold a meeting with parliamentary blocs to agree on points of negotiations with Baghdad to ensure “an inclusive solution”.

On Tuesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi unveiled an a agreement between Erbil and Baghdad to hold “technical and professional” to discuss the crisis before holding later political talks.

Abadi pointed to what he labelled as a  “radical shift” in the Kurdish government’s position on controversial issues such as independence borders>.

A political crisis and a later military standoff erupted between Baghdad and Erbil after the latter held a referendum on independence from Iraq in September that was regionally and internationally rejected. Iraqi forces took over areas disputed with Erbil in October, and Baghdad claimed control over air and land ports and borders.


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