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Kurds Seek Political Unity Ahead of Possible Talks With Baghdad

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is seeking a united front through negotiations with all Kurdish parties in preparation for future talks with the central Iraqi government and for this purpose Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani is holding almost daily talks with party leaders.

Unlike in the past, meetings this time around are not about government or ministerial posts, but to find a way out of the current crisis the KRG finds itself in that started with an Iraqi invasion of Kirkuk and other border areas after the September referendum.

Dilshad Shahab, an adviser to the KRG, says that the prime minister and his deputy are working on meeting Kurdish and Iraqi parliamentary blocs in the coming days.

Part of the meetings will be to tackle the issue of Iraq's controversial 2018 budget plan which the Kurds believe has axed their share down to a mere 12.6 percent from the constitutionally agreed 17 percent.

"The unity of people and their parties at this stage is vital for keeping the KRG together and strengthening its hand in negotiations," said Shahab.

KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani will be meeting with two major opposition parties that have so far turned down calls from the prime minister to rejoin the cabinet.

These are the Islamic League (Komal) followed by a visit to the Gorran movement.

Gorran leaders say they will welcome the prime minister's visit and that they have prepared a proposal to discuss with him.

"We have prepared a proposal and when they come to visit us we will bring it to the table and see what the government will have to say," Gorran's head of media affairs Abdulrazzaq Sharif told Rudaw.

The KRG and foreign capitals such as Washington, Paris and London have emphasized the need for dialogue between Erbil and Baghdad in light of a complete collapse of relations in October following several days of clashes in the disputed territories and the Iraqi closure of Kurdistan Region's airports in September.

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