Kurdistan prepared for unconditional talks with Iraq

By Daniel Uria  |  Oct. 22, 2017 at 1:44 PM
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Oct. 22 (UPI) -- Kurdistan's two major political parties have announced they are prepared to enter unconditional talks with Iraq to discuss the nation's constitution.

The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and the Kurdistan Democratic Party stated they will abandon the region's quest for independence from Iraq, but are willing to open a dialogue with the nation's government.

"We hereby declare to all parties that we are prepared to have unconditional dialogue on the basis of the constitution, away from imposing the policy of de facto, attacks or military arrogance," the statement read. "Iraq needs to come to the discussion table on the basis of recognizing the rights of Kurdistan nation. To this end, the government of Kurdistan will represent Kurdistan's nation."

The two major parties met with 30 other parties in the Kurdistan Region after nearly 170,000 people have been displaced from the Kirkuk region by Iraqi forces following a referendum for Kurdistan's independence.

A total of 93 percent of voters chose to leave Iraq, but Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi called it an illegal vote and the United States said it "does not recognize" the referendum.

"We have always been wanting to have dialogue, but the Iraqi side has chosen a military logic," Kurdistan's government said.

Nawzad Hadi, the governor of the Kurdistan Region's capital in Erbil, said the region expected more support and involvement from the United States in response to the military action as a result of their alliance to fight against the Islamic state.

"We expected real support from the U.S. for their loyal ally. Weapons used, with the support of the Peshmerga Forces, to defeat IS should not now be directed toward the people of the Kurdistan Region," he said.

Saad al-Hadithi, an Iraqi government spokesman, presented a number of conditions for negotiations with Kurdistan on Saturday.

"Holding any talks with Baghdad will surely be on the basis of conditions, namely the integrity of Iraq, the constitution, handing over border ports, airports, the country's wealth, Peshmerga forces, Kurdish security establishments, enforcing the law in disputed areas and preventing any move which might be taken by the Kurdistan Region contrary to the constitution," he said.

PUK spokesman Saadi Pira said the conditions were "unacceptable" and that talks would not move forward with any conditions attached.

"We want the people of Kurdistan to be assured that we will defend in earnest the mandate that is given to the Kurdish leadership to reach the eventual objectives of the people of Kurdistan," he said.

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