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MIDEAST > KRG slams Maliki, calls for dialogue

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KRG Premier Nechirvan Barzani says the north is no threat to Iraq. AA photo

KRG Premier Nechirvan Barzani says the north is no threat to Iraq. AA photo

Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani has reiterated his call for dialogue to solve a continuing standoff with Baghdad while continuing to fiercely criticize Iraq’s leader, accusing him of conspiracy and paranoia.

“We want to solve issues through dialogue, not through tanks or F-16s,” Barzani said yesterday, accusing Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of continually suspecting conspiracies against him. “The problems with al-Maliki are not personal. Most Iraqi factions support us.”

Barzani spoke to the press during an oil and gas conference yesterday attended by the representatives of energy giants. The conference comes at a time when the KRG wants to strike lucrative energy deals with international companies, also a source of contention between Arbil and Baghdad.

The KRG prime minister reiterated several times during both his conference speech and the press conference that all contracts established by the KRG were constitutional.

The conference is taking place only a few days after a crisis last week that brought the Iraqi military and Kurdish peshmarga face to face.

Barzani said Iraqi President Jalal Talabani went to Bagdad to begin a new initiative and that a delegation headed by Barham Salih, former prime minister of the KRG, would be going to Baghdad as well.

“We are not against purchasing weapons, but we want to [be sure about] how these weapons are used. We can’t trust the Iraqi government’s democratic credentials. We need to ask why we need to arm the Iraqi military,” Barzani said.

“We are not a threat to the unity of Iraq,” he said. “At no time have we have attempted to incite problems between Kurds and Arabs.”

Al-Maliki, however, is the first Iraqi prime minister to talk about war between Kurds and Arabs, according to Barzani, blaming Iraq’s leader for taking some steps toward an electoral campaign.
When asked about Turkey’s position regarding the standoff between Bagdad and Arbil, Barzani said, “Turkey wants to protect the unity of Iraq, it is helpful for all factions and it wants to maintain an equal distance with various groups.”

In response to a question on their expectations regarding the field of energy, he said: “Turkey is an important country for us in all aspects. We want Turkey to be more active in the energy field because Turkey is our access to the outside world.”

December/04/2012

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