Iraq’s Kur­dis­tan says to re­spect court de­ci­sion ban­ning se­ces­sion

KRG wants ‘in­clu­sive na­tional di­a­logue’ to resolve all dis­putes

Arab News - - INTERNATIONAL -

IRBIL: Iraqi Kur­dish au­thor­i­ties said on

Tues­day they would ac­cept a court de­ci­sion pro­hibit­ing the re­gion from se­ced­ing, sig­nal­ing a new phase in ef­forts to restart stalled ne­go­ti­a­tions over its fu­ture.

Iraq’s Kurds voted over­whelm­ingly for in­de­pen­dence in a ref­er­en­dum in Septem­ber, de­fy­ing the cen­tral gov­ern­ment in Bagh­dad — which had ruled the bal­lot il­le­gal — as well as neigh­bor­ing Turkey and Iran, which have their own Kur­dish mi­nori­ties.

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said he would not take any side in the cri­sis, but called on both par­ties to find a peace­ful so­lu­tion.

“We’ve had for many years a very good re­la­tion­ship with the Kurds as you know and we’ve also been on the side of Iraq, even though we should have never been there in the first place,” Trump told re­porters at the White House.

He said Washington would not take sides, but added that “we don’t like the fact that they’re clash­ing.”

The Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Gov­ern­ment (KRG) said on Tues­day it would re­spect the Nov. 6 rul­ing by the Supreme Fed­eral Court, which de­clared that no Iraqi prov­ince could se­cede.

“We be­lieve that this de­ci­sion must be­come a ba­sis for start­ing an in­clu­sive na­tional di­a­logue be­tween (Kur­dish au­thor­i­ties in) Irbil and Bagh­dad to resolve all dis­putes,” the KRG said in a state­ment.

The con­ces­sion marks the Kurds’ lat­est at­tempt to re­vive ne­go­ti­a­tions with the cen­tral gov­ern­ment, which im­posed re­tal­ia­tory mea­sures fol­low­ing the in­de­pen­dence vote.

They in­cluded an of­fen­sive by Iraqi gov­ern­ment forces and the Iran-backed Pop­u­lar Mo­bi­liza­tion Forces last month to wrest back con­trol from the KRG of the oil city of Kirkuk and other dis­puted ter­ri­to­ries.

Iraqi Prime Min­is­ter Haider Abadi had pre­vi­ously urged the north­ern semi-au­ton­o­mous Kur­dish re­gion to abide by the court’s de­ci­sion.

The court is re­spon­si­ble for set­tling dis­putes be­tween Iraq’s cen­tral gov­ern­ment and the coun­try’s re­gions and prov­inces. Its de­ci­sions can­not be ap­pealed, though it has no mech­a­nism to en­force its rul­ing in the Kur­dish re­gion.

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