Iraqi President, U.S. Ambassador Reiterate Importance of ‘Serious Dialogue’ Between Erbil, Baghdad

Iraqi President, U.S. Ambassador Reiterate Importance of ‘Serious Dialogue’ Between Erbil, Baghdad

 Iraqi President Fuad Masum and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Douglas A. Silliman reaffirmed the importance of “serious dialogue” to resolve the outstanding issues between Baghdad and Erbil based on the Iraqi constitution.

Iraqi Presidency said in a statement on Tuesday (January 2) that Masum received U.S. ambassador Silliman in Baghdad to discuss the latest developments in the country.

During the meeting, they had an extensive discussion about … the importance of quickly establishing a “serious dialogue to resolve all outstanding issues between the federal government and the Kurdistan region on the basis of the Constitution,” the statement read.

President Masum has made efforts to convince the federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to begin immediately talks to resolve their issues following the central government’s security and economic measures on the region in the wake of the region’s referendum on independence.

The government of Iraq retook the disputed areas and Kirkuk oilfields from the Kurds and banned Kurdistan Region’s international airports in mid-October as response to the referendum.

On Tuesday, KRG Spokesman Safin Dizayee said the Kurdish government welcomes positive steps towards resolving outstanding issues between Baghdad and Erbil as Baghdad showed more interest last week to start dialogue.

“[There was] interest to send a delegation of the Iraqi government to the Kurdistan Region, to form a joint committee and to hold talks about border points, airports, the region’s dams” as well as ways to pay salaries of the employees of the health and education ministries, he noted.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi reiterated Tuesday Baghdad’s willingness to pay salaries of Kurdish employees amid deteriorated relations between the central government and Erbil.

Abadi, however, was critical of the number of public servants on KRG payroll lists, but said this would not prevent from making payment to employees from KRG’s ministries of education and health.