News ID: 202004
Published: 0321 GMT October 08, 2017

Iraqi speaker meets with Kurdish leader

Iraqi speaker meets with Kurdish leader

The speaker of Iraq’s Parliament met with Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani, two weeks after the Kurdistan region held a controversial referendum on secession from the mainland.

The office of Salim al-Jabouri confirmed that he met with Barzani in the Kurdish capital, Erbil, a day after the Parliament in Baghdad adjourned to allow more time to resolve the referendum issue, Press TV reported.

The meeting came as the two sides remain at an impasse over the Kurdish separation.

Barzani’s office earlier said he and two of Iraq’s three vice presidents agreed on Saturday to restore relations with Baghdad after a meeting in Erbil. The office of the vice presidents have denied the account.

In response to the referendum, the Iraqi government has cut Kurdistan’s direct air links with the outside world, partially isolating the northern region. Baghdad has also called on the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to either cancel the result of the plebiscite or face potential sanctions, international isolation, and military intervention.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has already demanded the annulment of the results.

During a recent press conference in the French capital, Paris, the Iraqi premier said his government was not after confrontation with Iraqi Kurds, but reiterated Baghdad’s position that the referendum was illegal, and that problems should be solved within the framework of Iraq’s Constitution.

French President Emmanuel Macron has said his country is ready for mediation between Baghdad and Iraqi Kurds seeking separation from the mainland.

The referendum was largely opposed by the region’s Arabs and other minorities.

Iraq’s landlocked Kurdish region is heavily dependent on the central government and other regional countries for its economic survival.

Much of the international community has been vocally critical of the September 25 referendum, in which over 90 percent of the voters in the semi-autonomous region said ‘Yes’ to separation from Iraq, according to local officials.

 

   
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