Netherlands Ambassador to Iraq: We Support Dialogue between Erbil, Baghdad

Netherlands Ambassador to Iraq: We Support Dialogue between Erbil, Baghdad

 Netherlands Ambassador to Iraq, Matthijs Wolters on Sunday (November 27) expressed his country’s support in addressing issues between Erbil and Baghdad through dialogue.

Accompanied by Janet Alberda the Dutch consul general in Erbil, Wolters met with the Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, the official website of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) reported.

Wolters said his visit was aimed to familiarize the Dutch government with latest developments in the region. The visit to Erbil was the first since the October 16 incidents, which have further deteriorated the relations between the region and Iraqi central government.

Wolters reiterated that “Iraq and the Kurdistan Region are considered of immense importance by the new coalition cabinet of the Netherlands government, stressing they will maintain relations with Erbil and Baghdad,” the KRG website reported.

Kurdish Prime Minister and the Netherlands delegation also discussed Iraq’s 2018 budget draft law in which the Kurdistan Region’s share slashed by over 4%.

Nechirvan Barzani reiterated the “Kurdistan Region’s ambition to ease tensions and start dialogue on the basis of constitution,” the statement read.

The PM worries that “the ban on the Kurdistan Region’s airports will hinder efforts to transfer humanitarian aid to refugees and displaced families. It will have negative impact on the work of the international organizations and our ability to send wounded Peshmerga and ill people outside the country.”

The feud between Erbil and Baghdad stems from Baghdad’s economic and military measures taken in retaliation for the Kurdistan referendum on Sept. 25, which saw 92.7 percent of the voters support independence.

The government of Iraq has taken measures against the Kurdistan Region. In the first step, Baghdad banned international flights to and from the Kurdistan Region’s airports. Later in October, Iraqi forces and Hashid al-Shaabi launched a successful operation to take the disputed areas, including Kirkuk, from the Kurdish forces.

KRG has continued to express readiness to hold talks with Baghdad to resolve the issues between both sides according to the Iraqi constitution. However, the Iraqi government had wanted the KRG to annul the results of the referendum before holding talks.