Baghdad Reports 'Atmosphere of Trust' in Talks with Kurdistan Region

[caption id="attachment_55255250" align="aligncenter" width="6720"] Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi delivers a speech during a ceremony in the Shiite holy city of Najaf on January 7, 2018. (Getty)[/caption]

Reuters: Iraq’s central government said “an atmosphere of trust” marked talks held on Monday with the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region to resolve a conflict that triggered armed clashes in October.

Envoys of the two sides met in the Kurdish regional capital Erbil in northern Iraq and discussed issues including security, control over the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) land borders, airports, the oil industry, customs revenue and river dams, a statement from the Iraqi cabinet said.

“The meetings were held in an atmosphere of trust and understanding and formulating a number recommendations” to help resolve the issues, the statement said, giving no further details.

Conflict broke out after the KRG held a referendum on independence at the end of September, angering neighbouring states including Turkey and Iran, with their own restive Kurdish minorities, and drawing rebukes from the Iraqi Kurds’ key Western supporters, the United States and European Union.

Under Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s orders, government forces responded to the referendum by dislodging Kurdish militia from disputed regions including the oil city of Kirkuk.

Abadi also retaliated with a series of measures curtailing the KRG’s autonomy, including a ban on direct international travel to the two main Kurdish airports.

The Iraqi and Kurdish negotiators agreed on a series of points to jointly manage the airports of Erbil and Sulaimaniya, in Kurdistan, said Rudaw, a TV channel close to the KRG.

The KRG would accept that representatives of the Iraqi civil aviation authority would be posted in the two airports to oversee the implementation of federal regulations, it said.