Iraqi PM calls for resolving disputes with Kurds to defeat IS
Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said that the outstanding problems between Baghdad and Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) must be resolved because both sides are confronting the Islamic State (IS) militant group, Xinhua reported.
Abadi's remarks came in a statement following his meeting with a Kurdish delegation headed by Nechirvan Barzani, the Prime Minister of the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan, who arrived in Baghdad earlier in the day to discuss the pending issues between the KRG and the central government, including the budget dispute on oil exports.
"The interest of Iraq is greater than all of us, and that the threat of terrorism is a threat to all Iraq, which invites us to solve all the problems," the statement quoted Abadi as saying.
"We don't think that there is a problem which cannot be resolved in accordance with the constitution, justice and fairness," Abadi said.
For his part, Barzani hailed Abadi's attitude in dealing with the divisions among Iraqi factions, saying "the steps that you adopted in resolving disputes are encouraging to all Iraqis, and we are looking forward to open a new page for the benefit of all Iraq, not just the region of Kurdistan."
"We have the same approach to solve the problems, and we support adopting a clear strategy for finding solutions (to the disputes) through ongoing meetings," Barzani said.
On Nov. 13, Iraqi Minister of Oil Adel Abdul Mahdi, a Shite, and the Kurdish region reached an agreement to ease the tensions between the governments of Baghdad and Kurdistan.
Under the agreement, the regional authority on Nov. 18 started to pump 150,000 barrels a day of crude oil to the federal oil tanks in the Turkish port of Ceyhan. The day after, the federal government transferred some 500 million U.S. dollars to the KRG.
Baghdad has long been opposing the Kurdish region's independent export of oil, while Kurdish leaders have sharply criticized Baghdad for suspending the annual budget payments to the region.
The oil deal was seen as an important achievement for Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and his government, particularly, both Baghdad and the Kurdish region have been fighting the Islamic State (IS) extremist group which seized large areas in the country since June.
However, observers see that the deal is yet to be seen as the end of the long-running dispute between the central and regional governments, but a beginning for tough negotiations in the future.