KRG Welcomes Sistani’s Call for Talks With Baghdad

KRG Welcomes Sistani’s Call for Talks With Baghdad

The Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) on Monday welcomed a call by prominent Shia cleric Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani for dialogue between Baghdad and Erbil following a controversial independence referendum.
“Dialogue is the only way for solving unresolved issues between Erbil and Baghdad,” the KRG said in a statement on Monday.
Tension has been high between Baghdad and Erbil since the latter held a controversial referendum last week on secession from Iraq.
The poll has been denounced by Iraq and its neighbors, who view it as illegitimate, and Baghdad has moved to ban international flights into KRG-held areas and close foreign missions in the Kurdish region.
Last week, Sistani said he was saddened by attempts to break up Iraq, warning that moves by the KRG could pave the way for foreign interference in Iraq.
Earlier Monday, the Iraqi government called on the KRG to cancel the results of the independence referendum before engaging in dialogue.
According to figures released by the KRG, almost 93% of voters cast ballots in favor of independence from Baghdad.

 Abadi, Barzani to Visit Paris
Meanwhile, a Kurdish news website reported that France has officially invited Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani to visit Paris in the near future.
Ali Dolamari, the representative of Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in France, told BasNews “The government of France has officially invited Barzani to Paris.” He said the date of his visit will soon be announced.
French President Emmanuel Macron has invited Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani and Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to Paris in hopes of easing tensions arisen between the two sides after the September 25 independence referendum in Kurdistan.
Well-known French public intellectual Bernard-Henri Lévy revealed on Friday that Macron is ready to meditate between Erbil and Baghdad, the two top officials are expected to soon meet with the French president in Paris.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has already accepted the invitation and he will travel to Paris on October 5.
The Kurdish official said that Barzani and Abadi will meet with Macron separately.
In a statement after a telephone call with Abadi, Macron’s office said he had invited Abadi to Paris, but warned that the two sides should remain united in their priority to defeat the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group and stabilize Iraq, as reported by Reuters.
“All escalations should be avoided,” Macron said in the statement.


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