PM Maliki in Erbil to ameliorate the Erbil-Baghdad tensions
President Barzani described Iraq Premier’s visit as “significant visit” and said it is a “start to remove all the outstanding disputes”.
Following a mutual meeting behind closed doors in an attempt to ease the Erbil-Baghdad pending disputes over oil and land, Kurdistan Regional Government President Massoud Barzani and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki launched a press conference in Erbil, on Sunday June 9. The Shi'ite Premier Maliki was met on the Erbil airport tarmac by President Barzani and a delegation of high-ranking Kurdish officials.
Regarding Maliki’s visit and holding a ministerial session in Erbil, President Barzani stated that, “This visit is a beginning to resolve all the long-running disputes.”
Barzani added that he will visit the Iraqi capital Baghdad, however, he previously stated several times that he won’t visit Baghdad.
In a question about acti- vating the seven committees which were assigned, due to Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) PM Nechirvan Barzani’s visit to Baghdad, President Barzani stated that: “We agreed to activate the seven committees which are assigned to resolve the problems between the Iraqi government and KRG.” He added that the disputes should be resolved by the constitution.
In addition, PM Maliki said that: “In our meetings with the Kurdish officials, we discussed Iraq’s current situation aiming to ease the tensions.”
In a question regarding turning Halabja a province, PM Maliki said that he welcomes turning Halabja a province, adding that “the idea is good”.
Maliki also added that the Iraqi government is ready to hold the nationwide census in the disputed areas, which had been delayed several times under different pretexts.
Prime Minister Maliki’s visit was covered by lots of domestic and international news agencies. Some political experts believe that Maliki is now in a crossroads. He faces a fallout from the Syrian conflict which revived the extremist Sunni insurgents in Iraq and promoted an unwanted civil war, so better relations with the Kurds will cause to ease the pressure on PM Maliki ultimately.
Maliki’s last visit to Kurdistan Region was in 2010, at the time when the “Erbil Agreement” was struck. His visit ended in forming a power-sharing government among majority Shiite, Sunnis and the Kurds who already enjoy running an autonomous region since the Kurdish uprising against the former Iraqi regime in 1991.
Kurdistan Regional Government President Massoud Barzani shakes hand with Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki during his visit to the capital Erbil on Sunday June 9.
Kurdistan Regional Government President Massoud Barzani speaks as Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki stands next to him during a press conference held in Erbil, capital of the autonomous Kurdistan Region, on Sunday June 9.