Abadi Calls for Calm in Kurdistan as Chaos Follows Barzani Speech

Oct 31, 2017, 00:41
Abadi Calls for Calm in Kurdistan as Chaos Follows Barzani Speech

Johnson welcomed the Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani's decision not to extend his term, adding the choice offers "a new generation of Kurds" to lead Kurdistan.

Barzani said he wants the position of the president to be dissolved and its duties spread between the Kurdish area prime minister, parliament and the judiciary.

We welcome the recent decision from Prime Minister Abadi to begin a new dialogue with the KRG, under the Iraqi constitution, and avoid further confrontations.

Abadi called the independence referendum illegal. They attacked lawmakers and reporters while a crowd outside parliament waved Kurdish flags.

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The vote followed Barzani's announcement that he would not run in upcoming KRG presidential elections, which were recently postponed from November 1 to July 1.

An Associated Press team witnessed dozens of protesters attacking the building, parliamentarians and journalists as Barzani addressed the Kurdish region in his first televised speech since the referendum's fallout turned violent earlier this month.

And the suspension of the presidency, said Zaid Ali, author of "The Struggle for Iraq's Future", has created an impossible task for Kurdish lawmakers. President Barzani is a historic figure and courageous leader of his people, most recently in our common fight to destroy ISIS.

The United States called Barzani's decision "an act of statesmanship during a hard period".

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Iran, which condemned the Kurds' push for independence and has its own Kurdish minority, closed its borders with the autonomous region at the request of Baghdad. "We were a state within a state", said Kamal Chomani, a nonresident fellow at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy, in a phone interview Sunday. The development comes roughly six weeks after Iraqi Kurds voted on a controversial independence referendum that Mr. Barzani had championed.

Downcast, the long-time Kurdish leader blamed the central government in Baghdad for the regional crisis that followed the independence vote.

That agreement, Barzani said on Sunday, was nothing less than a "stab in the back" that undermined the entire region.

But in the wake of the plebiscite, the Iraqi government diverted its forces from fighting Islamic State to seize control over the disputed areas, including Kirkuk, the multi-ethnic northern Iraqi province whose oil riches and bickering sects have made it a perennial tinderbox between Baghdad and the Kurds.

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