US-Sponsored Agreement Eases Tensions Between Erbil, Baghdad

Article Summary
Tensions between Erbil and Baghdad have diminished following the signing of a seven-point agreement relating to military disputes along the Syrian border, reports Bassem Fracis. In another development, the KRG is forming a "supreme council" for negotiations with Baghdad. 

The Ministry of Peshmerga in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has signed a US-sponsored seven-point agreement with Baghdad, which calls for the withdrawal of Iraqi army troops that were dispatched to Zumar on the Syria-Iraq border. In the meantime, Kurdish forces will hold a meeting in the KRG parliament building, aimed at forming a “supreme council” for negotiations with Baghdad.

The tension between the Iraqi government and the KRG reached a critical stage after a Peshmerga military unit prevented a unit from the federal Iraqi army from stationing in disputed territories in the region of Zumar in Nineveh province on July 27.

The secretary-general of the ministry of Peshmerga in the KRG, Lt. Gen. Jabbar Yawar, told reporters yesterday [Aug. 4] that “the meeting held on Saturday in Erbil, consisting of a delegation from the ministry of Peshmerga, commander of Iraq's ground troops Ali Ghidan, commander of the Iraqi federal police and representatives from the US-Iraq security bureau and US Embassy, resulted in a seven-point agreement.” Yawar said that the agreement requires that “each party’s troops remain where they are stationed, while completing their usual task of monitoring the border with Syria,” adding that it also stipulates “withdrawal of Iraqi army troops that were dispatched following the crisis between both parties, reopening of the main roads in the region and pulling back all army troops once the Syrian crisis is over.“

Yawar said that the agreement needs to be signed by KRG President Massoud Barzani and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

In another development, the media adviser to the speaker of KRG parliament, Tariq Jawhar, told Al-Hayat that “leaders of Kurdish political parties and blocs will meet tomorrow in the KRG parliament building, in the presence of the KRG president and vice president. The meeting will examine the draft proposal to form a supreme council for negotiations with Baghdad.” He added that “the council will focus on following up on outstanding issues with the federal government and developing a method for managing negotiations.” Jawhar noted that “the agreement reached between the two parties to end the military crisis bodes well for efforts to find solutions to other outstanding issues in accordance with the constitution.”

The Kurdish government hopes that the new body contributes to finding radical solutions to issues which have been outstanding for years, especially concerning the legal framework of oil contracts, disputed territories and the Peshmerga.

In a news conference following a meeting in the city of Sulaymaniyah, Kurdish opposition groups said that they “shared a unified view will take part in the meeting scheduled in parliament to discuss the establishment of a supreme council for negotiations with Baghdad.” They continued: “The tripartite opposition is committed to its reform plan, and will continue forward with joint action, including two new projects relating to outstanding issues between Erbil and Baghdad.” 

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Found in: us, syrian crisis, syrian-iraqi border, kurds, krg, iraqi politics, iraq, diplomacy, baghdad
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