Iraq's vice president calls for bilateral dialogue between Baghdad, Erbil

Source: Xinhua| 2017-10-14 19:59:32|Editor: Song Lifang
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BAGHDAD, Oct. 14 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi Vice President Ayad Allawi on Saturday called for bilateral dialogue between Baghdad and Erbil to break the political stalemate between the central government and the Kurdish region that was created by the last month's independence referendum.

A statement by his office said that Allawi's call was built on the repeated call for national dialogue by the regional President Masoud Barzani and other Kurdish political leaders, and on the other hand, the repeated stance of the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to reject resorting to military force to solve the problems between Baghdad and the semi-autonomous region.

"We take the opportunity today to stress the need of bilateral dialogues between Baghdad and Erbil with an urgent national meeting to establish a clear road map for the future of the political process in Iraq," the statement said.

Late last month, Allawi launched an initiative in which he called for dialogue between the region and the central government without any preconditions, and that the dialogue to be held on the basis of the constitution, and freezing the results of the Sept. 25 referendum, in order to defuse the crisis between the two sides.

On Thursday, Abadi, who is also the Commander-in-Chief of Iraqi forces, said the Iraqi army will not go into a war against the Iraqi people, including the people of Kurdistan.

"We will not use our army against our people or fight a war against our Kurdish and other citizens," Abadi said, adding that his government "duty is to preserve the unity of the country, apply the constitution and safeguard the citizens and national wealth."

However, Abadi on Sept. 27 called on the Kurdish regional government to cancel the results of the controversial independence referendum.

"We want Kurdistan region to cancel the outcomes of the referendum if they want to start talks with Baghdad, which must be under the roof of the constitution," Abadi told the lawmaker when attended a parliament session to discuss the crisis with the Kurds.

Baghdad government also adopted punitive measures that included suspension of international flights to the Kurdish region and blocked all the border crossings which are outside the control of the federal authorities, and called on the neighboring countries (Turkey and Iran) to help the Iraq in implementing its measures.

The independence of Kurdistan is opposed not only by the Iraqi central government, but also by most other countries, because it would threaten the integrity of Iraq and undermine the fight against Islamic State militants.

Iraq's neighboring countries, especially Turkey, Iran and Syria, fear the Iraqi Kurdish independence move would threaten their territorial integrity, as large population of Kurds live in those countries.

The U.S. had repeatedly warned the Kurds to postpone the referendum, saying such move could derail or confuse the war against IS.