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Erbil, Baghdad strengthen ties in face of Islamic State

As the Islamic State continues its relentless campaign in Iraq and Syria, the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government are realizing the benefits of cooperation and compromise.
President of Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region Massoud Barzani speaks during a joint news conference with French President Francois Hollande in Arbil September 12, 2014.  REUTERS/Azad Lashkari  (IRAQ - Tags: POLITICS ) - RTR4615L

It was never impossible to repair the long-strained relationship between the Baghdad and Erbil governments. Compromise had always been available to both parties. In light of the current threatening situation and the challenges facing Iraq, such solutions are finally helping to put relations between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the Baghdad-based Iraqi central government back on track.

The Kurds have welcomed decisions by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to release money to pay the salaries of KRG employees, to de-escalate tensions with Erbil and to pledge to work on permanent solutions to crises. There have been significant differences between the two sides for a number of years, but these now appear to be dissipating as the forces of the Islamic State (IS) approach the outskirts of Baghdad and Erbil. This mutual threat has prompted the involved parties to re-evaluate their positions to ensure they can respond to this danger.

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