UN Iraq chief: Baghdad and Erbil need understanding before holding Kurdistan independence referendum

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Iraqi Kurds call for independence. File photo

ARA News

The Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), Ján Kubiš, on Monday called on the Iraqi government and the Kurdish government to enter into negotiations to prevent conflict before the Kurds hold independence referendum on 25th of September.

“On 11 July, President Barzani reiterated, during his address to the European Parliament in Brussels, the KR-I’s determination to hold the referendum as planned, while maintaining that no country had clearly opposed it. It is important to note that the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and the Change Movement (Gorran) have demanded that the regional parliament of Kurdistan should be reactivated before the referendum,” Kubiš said.

“Such an important issue ought not to be pursued without understanding between the federal government and that of the Kurdistan Regional Government,” he said in a briefing in the Security Council.

“I, therefore, urge both parties to enter into negotiations without further delay, in the spirit of genuine partnership and based on the Constitution, to urgently find common ground and a roadmap to address this and other critical topics, notably implementation of Article 140 of the Constitution on disputed territories, including the status of Kirkuk, budgetary issues, oil and revenue sharing, and other areas and principles that determine the relations between the federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government,” the UNAMI chief said.

“The absence of meaningful political dialogue could turn a conflict of interests into a different kind of conflict. Prime Minister Abadi’s and President’s Barzani call for dialogue, should be followed by meetings of negotiation teams as a matter of urgency,” Kubiš added.

Moreover, the UN Iraq chief called on the Iraqi Kurds to reactivate the parliament which has been inactive since disputes broke out between Kurdish parties in October 2015.

“In regards to internal politics in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, I further urge as a matter of priority, the reactivation of a functional democratic administration, notably the regional parliament as the primary democratic institution to ensure unity and the functioning of democracy in the region,” he said.

“The reopening of the regional parliament, which has been inactive since October 2015, should be based on the principles of democracy and inclusiveness, without preconditions,” he concluded.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News

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