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President Barzani: We Don’t Secede, We Want Independence

14481719_1450285794987684_1649659603704712759_oOn Thursday the President of Kurdistan Region Masoud Barzani and a senior delegation accompanying him visited Baghdad and met the Iraqi leaders.

The Kurdish delegation comprised of leaders of the political parties, which were Kosrat Rasool the deputy secretary-general of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), Salahaddin Bahaddin the secretary-general of the Kurdistan Islamic Union, Mohammed Haji Mamoud the secreteray-general of the Kurdistan Socialist Party, Malla Bakhtiyar the chief of PUK politburo, Roj Nuri Shawes member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party’s politburo, Azad Barwari member of the KDP politburo, Ja’afar Sheikh Mustafa member of PUK politburo and commander of the 70th Unit Forces, and Fuad Hussein, the Chief of Presidency Diwan.

Their first meeting started with the Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar Abadi and his cabinet’s ministers. The war against ISIS terrorists, the political landscape of Iraq, the Mosul liberation operation, the financial crisis, IDPs circumstances, the reconstruction of ISIS-liberated areas and the relations between Baghdad and Erbil were highlighted. President Barzani praised the level of coordination between the Peshmerga and Iraqi army commanders with regard to the Mosul liberation operation and the military agreement between Baghdad and Erbil for that operation. Both sides emphasized on the continuation of dialogue and creating understanding between Baghdad and Erbil.

Subsequently after this meeting, both President Barzani and PM Abadi had a closed one-to-one meeting where they exchanged views on how to resolve the problems and the framework of future Kurdistan-Iraq relations.

President Barzani and his delegation visit to Baghad also included meeting with the Shiite National Coalition block leader Ammar al-Hakeem. In a press conference after the meeting, President Barzani said “We need plan for liberating Mosul from ISIS and its post-ISIS era.”

“In this visit to Baghdad we have worked on rebuilding trust on both sides in order to find solutions to the problems and reach a satisfied solution. There will be another delegation visiting Baghdad after ours. We hope to reach a solution with the next delegation.”

When asked about secession, President Barzani said: “We do not secede. It is wrong when it is stated that Kurdistan Region asks for secession. We ask for independence which is a natural right of us and we discuss this with Baghdad and should be done through understanding with Baghdad.”

The Kurdistan delegation also met the President of Iraqi Fouad Ma’soum and heads of the parliamentary blocks separately.

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