Kurdistan officials seek talks with Baghdad
ERBIL, October 25, 2017 – Officials from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) said on Wednesday they would suspend the region’s moves towards independence as they seek dialogue with Baghdad.
The statement comes after fighting in the region erupted earlier this week, with Iraqi paramilitary forces reported to be moving in on the Fish Khabur area, located near a border crossing with Turkey where the Kurdistan Crude Export Pipeline passes.
“As Iraq and Kurdistan are faced with grave and dangerous circumstances, we are all obliged to act responsibly in order to prevent further violence and clashes between Iraqi and Peshmerga forces,” a statement from the KRG read.
The statement went on to call for an immediate ceasefire between Iraqi and Kurdish forces and an end to Iraqi military offensives in the Kurdistan Region, as well as a freezing of the independence process and the launch of dialogue between the two sides.
A spokesman for the Iraqi military appeared to respond defiantly to the statement via social media, saying, “Military operations are not connected to politics.”
Tuesday’s move by Iraqi paramilitaries to gain control of the Fish Khabur area follows a call from Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi for Iraqi forces to retake areas under dispute with the KRG, including Turkish border crossings.
Flows from the Kurdistan Region’s 700,000-bpd export pipeline were reported to be down to as low as 200,000 bpd over the weekend, but on Monday had risen to 255,000 bpd.