Kur­dish re­gion ‘will hon­our Iraqi fed­eral court’s de­ci­sion to ban home rule’

The National - News - - NEWS - MINA AL­DROUBI

The Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Gov­ern­ment yes­ter­day said it would re­spect a rul­ing by Iraq’s fed­eral court pro­hibit­ing its push for in­de­pen­dence.

The fed­eral court’s de­ci­sion this month came af­ter Iraqi Kurds over­whelm­ingly voted in favour of in­de­pen­dence in a non-bind­ing ref­er­en­dum on Septem­ber 25, which was crit­i­cised as il­le­gal by the cen­tral Iraqi gov­ern­ment and neigh­bours Tur­key and Iran.

The KRG, which gov­erns Iraq’s au­ton­o­mous Kur­dish re­gion, said it would “re­spect the Novem­ber 6 rul­ing by the supreme fed­eral court”, which de­clared that no Iraqi prov­ince could se­cede from Bagh­dad.

“We be­lieve that this de­ci­sion must be­come a ba­sis for start­ing an in­clu­sive na­tional di­a­logue be­tween Er­bil and Bagh­dad to re­solve all dis­putes,” it said.

Di­a­logue will be im­ple­mented through the Iraqi con­sti­tu­tion in a way that “guar­an­tees all rights, au­thor­i­ties and sta­tus, since this is the only way to se­cure the unity of Iraq”, it said.

The fed­eral court is re­spon­si­ble for set­tling dis­putes be­tween Iraq’s cen­tral gov­ern­ment and the coun­try’s re­gions and prov­inces. Its de­ci­sions can­not be ap­pealed, al­though it can­not en­force its rul­ing in the Kur­dish re­gion.

Af­ter the Kur­dish bid for in­de­pen­dence, Bagh­dad halted in­ter­na­tional flights in and out of Iraqi Kur­dis­tan and launched a mil­i­tary op­er­a­tion that re­cap­tured the oil-rich city of Kirkuk and other dis­puted ar­eas from Kur­dish forces.

These ar­eas lie out­side the Kur­dish re­gion and are claimed by Er­bil and Bagh­dad.

Iraq also un­leashed a le­gal bar­rage against Kur­dish of­fi­cials and sought to seize key busi­nesses, while Tur­key and Iran have threat­ened to close their bor­ders with the au­ton­o­mous re­gion to oil ex­ports.

US pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s special en­voy to the anti-ISIL coali­tion, Brett McGurk, yes­ter­day praised Er­bil’s ef­forts in try­ing to re­solve the dis­pute. The US has backed Kur­dish forces fight­ing ISIL in Iraq and Syria.

On Mon­day, Kur­dish prime min­is­ter Nechir­van Barzani urged Bagh­dad to re­spond to Er­bil’s calls for talks and called on the US to find neu­tral ground in re­solv­ing the dis­pute.

Iraqi prime min­is­ter Haider Al Abadi had pre­vi­ously urged Er­bil to abide by the fed­eral court’s Novem­ber 6 de­ci­sion so that ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween the two could start.

But Mr Barzani ac­cused Bagh­dad of try­ing to abol­ish the Kur­dish re­gion and “re­ject­ing calls for di­a­logue”.

“Bagh­dad has not re­sponded to Er­bil’s pro­pos­als for di­a­logue”, he said, call­ing on of­fi­cials in the cen­tral gov­ern­ment “to re­solve all prob­lems through the con­sti­tu­tion”.

Mr Barzani also ac­cused the US of supporting “Bagh­dad in­stead of be­ing a me­di­a­tor be­tween its two al­lies”.

He urged Wash­ing­ton to “bal­ance its re­la­tions with the two sides and to set the stage for con­struc­tive di­a­logue”.

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