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Members of the KDP and PUK meet in Pirmam, Kurdistan Region, on July 16, 2018. Photo: Rudaw

Rudaw: KDP and PUK finalizing agenda for Baghdad negotiations

PIRMAM, Kurdistan Region — Politburo members from the Kurdistan Democratic Party hosted their Patriotic Union of Kurdistan counterparts in Erbil on Sunday to finalize an agenda for going to Baghdad.

The aim of the KDP-PUK meeting is to complete a mutual package which they will jointly bring to Baghdad.

A high-ranking KDP official said the agenda is not only intended for negotiations with Iraqi parties.


“Rather, we will discuss it with the US and EU countries,” said the official.


Aras Haso Mirkhan, a KDP leadership member, said they have good common ground with the PUK to reach an agreement before negotiations among the winning parties of the election start to form a new government.


After meeting with the PUK and preparing a joint agenda, the KDP is expected to take the initiative again to invite Gorran, CDJ, Komal and KIU to “join the alliance and participate in writing up the joint agenda through which discussions will be held with Iraqi parties,” Mirkhan said.


Voting recounts have been undertaken in Kirkuk, Erbil, Sulaimani, and Duhok, but Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission is yet to announce final results.


The KDP official said the discussion so far held with Iraqi parties “were not official and were only friendly meetings” because the federal court has not yet made a final ruling on the outcome of the election. This is in addition to the instability created by the protests staged in southern Iraq.


Protests over a lack of jobs and public services have brought many southern provinces to a halt.


“We will not wait until the protests are curbed. Rather, we will be preparing a joint agenda with the PUK. Then we will reach out to the other parties and present the agenda to them so that it becomes a joint agenda of all of us. If they refuse to join the agenda, the KDP and PUK should then prepare themselves for the task together,” Mirkhan said.


The KDP declared that they will be taking the initiative and reach out to all the parties in the Kurdistan Region to go to Baghdad on the basis of a joint agenda.


Saadi Ahmad Pira, a PUK politburo member and spokesperson, however said that it is impossible to discuss meetings and holding talks with Iraqi parties while widespread protests are staged in south Iraq.


“The discussion will stop for now. Baghdad is busy with internal affairs. Whenever we decide to go to Baghdad, there is a national agenda that contains all the wants of the Kurds,” Pira said.


Iraq held a parliamentary election on May 12. It is yet to form a new government. The current government’s mandate was extended by parliament as it was set to expire at the end of June.


“In terms of the formation of a government, we will support any party or anybody that is prepared to meet the demands of the Kurds,” Pira added.


According to information obtained by Rudaw from KDP and PUK officials, the agenda that is going to be prepared by the KDP and PUK will include some demands, most important of which will be: “the implementation of article 140, holding a referendum to decide the fates of disputed territories, forming a balanced government among Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds, all the decisions and laws passed by the parliament should be done so on the basis of the principle of agreement, not on the basis of majority versus minority, government positions should be distributed in a balanced manner.”


Recently, some Iraqi delegations and leaders of some Iraqi parties visited Erbil, which was the place where parties came to four years ago to negotiate the formation of the current government. But KDP officials have said they will not allow a strong Iraqi government to be formed in Erbil only to sideline the Kurds later.


A KDP official who didn’t want to be mentioned by name said he met with KDP head Masoud Barzani recently who was optimistic about future developments and that Barzani had thought the Kurdistan Region would be even in a stronger position than it was in before the independence referendum.


A PUK official who didn’t want to be identified said they will reach an agreement with the KDP if the agreement ensures the needs and wants of the people of Kurdistan and important Kurdish questions.


“However, it is important if all the parties are united and together. We will try to reach out to them again, but we are sure they won’t come,” he said.


Haider al-Abadi’s Nasr and Moqtada al-Sadr’s Sayirun delegations were expected to visit Erbil to meet with Barzani, KDP and PUK politburos. But their visit was delayed because of the protests.


Mirkhan said Barzani had recently met with US, British and EU officials and had told them that Kurdistan’s patience regarding Kirkuk and other areas will not continue. Additionally, Kurdistan will tie the solution of these areas to its participation in the formation of the government and the foreigners should play their role before Kurdistan’s patience runs out.

In early discussions with Iraqi parties, the KDP had stressed the need to protect “consensus, balance and partnership”.

The KDP and PUK, traditionally the two largest Kurdistani parties, collectively secured 43 seats in the election, according to official preliminary results released by the Iraq’ High Independent Electoral Commission in May.

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