Saudi Minister Calls on Barzani to Accept International Mediations

Saudi Minister Calls on Barzani to Accept International Mediations

Saudi Minister of State for Gulf Affairs Thamer al-Sabhan called on Masoud Barzani to accept the international mediations to resolve the issues between the Kurdistan Region and Baghdad.

“I look forward to President Masoud Barzani’s wisdom and bravery to accept the international mediations to resolve the current crisis within the framework of the UN proposals and spare Iraq from crises it does not need,” Sabhan tweeted on Tuesday (September 19).

Saudi minister of state for Gulf affairs met with Barzani on Saturday (September 16) in Erbil.

Sabhan expressed Saudi’s readiness to mediate between Erbil and Baghdad to resolve the outstanding issues between both sides.

Barzani, for his part, said during the meeting that the Kurdistan Region had “never closed its door” to hold talks.

Kurds are set to hold the referendum on September 25 but Baghdad opposes it, with lawmakers voting to reject it. Iraq's neighbors, Turkey, Iran and Syria, also oppose the referendum, fearing it could fan separatism among their own ethnic Kurdish populations.

Following a meeting with Masoud Barzani on Thursday (September 15), envoys from U.S., U.N., and U.K. said they had presented what they called an “alternative path” to the Kurdish referendum seeking the postponement of the vote.

High Referendum Council said on Sunday (September 17) the process of referendum on independence of Kurdistan would continue, just few days after representatives from U.N., U.S., U.K., Germany and France suggested alternatives to postpone referendum.

The United States and Western nations fear the referendum could lead to conflicts with Baghdad and neighboring Turkey and Iran, which host sizeable Kurdish populations, diverting attention from the fight against ISIS militants in Iraq and Syria.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Saturday (September 16) he’s prepared to intervene militarily if the Kurdistan independence referendum scheduled for September 25 results in violence.