Trying to jump-start discussions with Iraq’s central government, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Erbil recently announced it will respect the Iraqi Federal Court’s ecision that the KRG independence referendum was unconstitutional. But Baghdad has amplified its demands for opening a dialogue, which makes negotiations unlikely to happen anytime soon.
The Kurdish independence referendum, which voters overwhelmingly approved in September, greatly escalated problems between Baghdad and the KRG. However, both sides have called for negotiations to resolve the issues based on the Iraqi Constitution.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has said Baghdad is continuing to work toward putting into effect some articles of the constitution that have never been implemented and would benefit the Kurds, while at the same time returning federal sovereignty to all areas of Iraq.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson touched on the subject this week during a speech at the Atlantic Council-Korea Foundation Forum in Washington DC, saying the United States will help officials implement the Iraqi Constitution completely.
“We have said we’ll stand with the Kurds to support them in the full implementation of the Iraqi Constitution … which, when it is fully implemented, will address a number of grievances that the Kurdish people have had for some time and we hope will lead to that unified Iraq,” Tillerson said at the Dec. 12 meeting.
An Iraqi parliamentary source told Al-Monitor, on condition of anonymity, Baghdad’s five recent conditions for opening negotiations.