Dialogue only way to solve disputes: KRG
ARBIL - Agence France-PresseThe premier of Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) said yesterday that dialogue, not force, is the key to ending a crisis with Baghdad that has seen military reinforcements sent to disputed areas.
“I want to emphasize one point, which is that Iraq’s problems will not be addressed by force,” Nechirvan Barzani told a news conference in Arbil, capital of the region in northern Iraq, Agence France-Presse reported.
“Iraq’s experiences prove that the country’s problems will only be addressed by dialogue,” he said.
Tensions have been running high in areas of northern Iraq that the Kurdish region wants to incorporate over the strong objections of Baghdad.
Parliamentary Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi has been pushing to resolve the crisis, which he has warned could lead to civil war.
He has been holding talks since Nov. 21 with political leaders in Baghdad and the government in the north, and announced that a “technical and military meeting” on the crisis was to be held yesterday in Baghdad.
Barzani said a high-level Kurdish delegation would travel to Baghdad today with the aim of reaching an agreement and expressed hope that al-Nujaifi’s efforts would yield results.
KRG President Masoud Barzani has said peshmarga clashed with Iraqi forces in the disputed town of Tuz Khurmatu on Nov. 16.
He ordered them “to exercise restraint in the face of provocations, but also to be in the highest state of readiness to face any aggressive acts,” while Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s office later warned the peshmarga “not to change their positions or approach the [federal] armed forces.” Baghdad and Arbil have subsequently traded accusations over sending reinforcements to disputed areas.
The unresolved row over territory poses the biggest threat to Iraq’s long-term stability, diplomats and officials say. Ties between the two sides are also marred by disputes over oil and power-sharing.
Meanwhile, the head of the Peshmarga Ministry, Cabbar Yawer, called on the United Nations to take a mediator role in Iraq’s disputes.
A delegation from the U.N. Iraq office’s general secretariat headed by George Boston visited Yawer on Nov. 25, Doğan news agency cited Rudaw news website as saying. During the meeting, Yawer called on the U.N. to mediate between Baghdad and the Peshmarga Ministry of the KRG. The U.N. delegation called on both sides in Iraq to comply with the agreements signed in 2010 to decrease problems in the disputed territories.