President Barzani: failing to hold an election puts the experience of the Kurdistan region into question


Shafaq News/ Failing to hold a parliamentary election in the Kurdistan region puts its entire experience into question, the President of the Kurdistan region, Nechirvan Barzani, said after wrapping up a three-day visit to Bavaria.

"These conferences in general -whether the Munich conference or the Davos forum, or others- are an opportunity for the Kurdistan Region to present its vision to its partners in the international community without the exaggerated protocol," said the president, "in this conference, we had a series of meetings that are mostly related to our situation. They shed light on our relations with Baghdad, which was the main focus in all the meetings."

"We assured all the partners that the Kurdistan region supports the [federal] prime minister and the new Iraqi government," he said, "the Kurdistan region wants to solve its problems with Baghdad in accordance with the Iraqi constitution and within the framework of the constitution. We hope that Baghdad shares our vision and make serious efforts to solve the problems."

"The delegations we met called for unifying the Kurds' ranks, resolving the internal differences, and forming a strong bloc in order to address all the differences with Baghdad," he continued.

"Terrorism remains a threat in Iraq, in Kurdistan, and Western countries as well," the president explained, "in our meetings, whether with the Americans or the Europeans, we expressed our gratitude for the unwavering support and backing that helped us deal with terrorism."

"It appears to us that they fully understand that the situation is not over yet. We expressed our willingness to sustain the cooperation and illustrated the great role the Peshmerga, our security forces, and our people have played in defeating terrorism since 2014."

"Unfortunately, we were supposed to have held an [parliamentary] election last year, but for various reasons, this was not conducted. We are confident that elections will be held this year," he said, "as soon as we return from Munich, we will convene meetings with the political forces in Kurdistan. The topic of elections will be the foremost topic in our meetings with other components. Moreover, we are bound to timetables and deadlines. Me, as a president, I must set a date for the election. Failing to hold an election puts the entire political process and the constitutionality of the Kurdistan Region into question."

When asked about the ties with the federal government, President Barzani said, "we met here with the [Iraqi] prime minister, and we agreed that these issues should be resolved as soon as possible. The delegation of the Kurdistan Regional Government was in Baghdad last week, and they touched on this issue. We are serious about finding a solution within the framework of the Iraqi constitution."

"This government is a result of the partnership between the Kurds, the Shiites, and the Sunnis. We agreed on that approach, wrote it down, and signed it. If the other parties do not want to abide by this agreement, then there will be no meaning for us Kurds to remain in this government. I think they understand this."

"We are optimistic. We want to solve these problems via dialogue and within the framework of the Iraqi constitution. We have no other solution."

Acknowledging the problems between the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), the President said he believes they do not jeopardize the region's future.

"However, the components and political parties in the Kurdistan region should realize that together we can work; apart, we can do nothing," he said, "we definitely have differences and different parties. But, after all, we have one country. This country and those people will continue to exist."

"The political forces should take into account the interests od the people of Kurdistan. The interests of the Kurdistan region and its people are above everything. A meeting should have taken place earlier and shall take place very soon."

"We share friendly and fraternal ties with the Arab countries. This applies to Qatar as well. We met here with Qatar's foreign minister. I paid a visit to Qatar before, and the region's prime minister also visited Qatar. Developing ties with Arab countries is of great importance. We are discussing with Qatar the economic opportunities that might help Iraq and the Kurdistan region...Our bilateral ties are very good. Soon, they will inaugurate their consulate-general in Erbil in cooperation with Baghdad. This is a sign of advanced ties between the Kurdistan region and Qatar," he concluded.

Last Friday, President Barzani joined a slew of world leaders, security and military figures, and representatives of international organizations for talks on international security at the Munich Security Conference (MSC).

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