“I’d like the United States to see us as an asset, but they still see us through the Iraqi lens,” he said when asked for his dearest wish for the relations with the US. “What we do here has implications in Turkey, in Syria and on the oil markets. Our relationship should reflect that.”
Talabani said he was saddened by the fact that over a year after his departure from the US, his former position still is not filled. The vacuum this has caused is seen as one of the reasons for the decline in the quality of relations between the US and the Kurds.
“The vacancy should not be seen as an indication of how much importance we give to the US-Kurdistan relations,” he protested. He stressed it is a matter of “internal Kurdish relations,” thus indicating the problem is part of the conflicts inside PUK and with the KDP that are hampering formation of a new cabinet.
“There were two candidates for the position, but the procedure has been taken over by other events. It will definitely be addressed in the eighth cabinet,” Talabani said.
He showed disappointment that the issue of the blacklist has not been solved, pointing out that nobody in Kurdistan knew that it existed. “It is not even a physical list. The former South African president Nelson Mandela was on it, too. They managed to remove him some time before he died.”
Talabani stressed that the US administration “agrees that we should not be on it.” Yet, the procedure to get off the list leads through the American Congress and needs legislation to be amended or newly inserted. “We have fallen into the game of politics, and that has little to do with what’s going on between KDP and PUK.”