Iraq government, KRG hold first high-profile meeting after referendum

Published 07.10.2017 22:22
Updated 07.10.2017 23:32
emAA Photo/em
AA Photo

The Iraqi central government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) held the first official meeting Saturday, two weeks after the controversial independence referendum.

KRG President Masoud Barzani's office said a delegation led by Barzani met with Iraqi vice presidents Osama al-Nujaifi and Iyad Allawi and a group of Iraqi lawmakers in Sulaymaniyah.

The Iraqi and Kurdish sides reportedly agreed to initiate meetings to ease tension, lift sanctions imposed on the KRG and immediately start dialogue between Irbil and Baghdad.

Speaking after the meeting, al-Nujaifi said he conveyed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's concerns over KRG's independence plans to Barzani.

The Iraqi vice president said that the issues need to be resolved through dialogue and it was crucial for the two sides to understand each other to overcome the crisis.

On Sept. 25, Iraqis in KRG-held areas -- and in several areas disputed between Baghdad and Irbil -- voted on whether to declare independence from Iraq or not.

According to results announced by the KRG, almost 93 percent of registered voters cast ballots in favor of independence.

The illegitimate referendum was heavily criticized by most regional and international actors, many warning that it would distract Iraq's ongoing fight against terrorism and further destabilize the already-volatile region.

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