TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - The United Nations has called on the central Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to settle their differences thorough engaging in talks based on the country’s constitution.
In a letter addressed to KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani on Friday, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said the Baghdad-Erbil spat should be resolved in a peaceful manner.
“I encourage both sides to take the necessary steps to prepare the ground for a serious dialog,” the letter read.
Guterres also stressed that he was “delighted” that both Erbil and Baghdad had expressed their readiness for dialog.
“For the purpose of national reconciliation, enhancing the stability and confronting the threats that are still created by IS (the Daesh terrorist group), the current stability must be maintained,” Guterres concluded.
Relations soured between Baghdad and Erbil following the September 25 referendum on the secession of the Kurdish region from the rest of the Iraqi territory.
The plebiscite was held in defiance of strong objection from both Baghdad and Iraq’s neighbors, particularly Iran and Turkey.
The Iraqi government responded to the controversial Kurdish vote by conducting a military campaign to retake the areas overrun by the Kurdish militants in the course of the anti-Daesh fight. It also banned direct flights to the semi-autonomous Kurdish region and demanded control over border crossings.
In November 2017, Iraq’s Supreme Federal Court ruled that no region or province can break away from the mainland. The KRG said it would respect that order and expressed hope that the decision will set the stage for Baghdad-Erbil dialog.
Baghdad has set out a number of conditions for the KRG to meet before any negotiations on the resolution of the crisis could start.