Kur­dis­tan ‘to re­spect’ court rul­ing on secession

The Gulf Today - - Middle East -

AR­BIL: Iraqi Kur­dish au­thor­i­ties said on Tues­day they would ac­cept a court de­ci­sion pro­hibit­ing the re­gion from se­ced­ing, sig­nalling 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 neigh­bour­ing Turkey and Iran which have their own Kur­dish mi­nori­ties.

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) Ar­bil and Bagh­dad to re­solve all dis­putes,” the KRG said in a state­ment.

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

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

Iraqi PM Haider Al Abadi had pre­vi­ously urged the north­ern semi­au­tonomous 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.

Iraqi Kur­dish pres­i­dent Ma­soud Barzani has re­signed , leav­ing his nephew to rec­on­cile with the cen­tral gov­ern­ment in Bagh­dad, with re­gional neigh­bours and with ri­val Kur­dish par­ties af­ter a failed ref­er­en­dum on in­de­pen­dence.

Nechir­van Barzani, who has served along­side his un­cle as prime min­is­ter, will now be the main au­thor­ity ig­ure in the ex­ec­u­tive of the Kur­dish au­ton­o­mous re­gion, fol­low­ing Ma­soud Barzani’s de­par­ture as pres­i­dent, Kur­dish ofi­cials said.

Ac­cord­ing to the United Na­tions, more than 180,000 peo­ple were dis­placed by the Iraqi gov­ern­ment of­fen­sive on dis­puted ter­ri­to­ries last month. Aid agen­cies say most of those dis­placed are Kurds, though mem­bers of other mi­nori­ties, in­clud­ing some of Tuz Khur­mato’s Sunni Arabs and Turk­men, also led.

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