22 February 2018

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03/14/2005 IRAQ

A new Iraq for everyone, says Kurdish envoy

Saywan Barzani is optimistic despite frictions between the Kurdish block and the Shiite alliance over the new government. One major stumbling block is the return of Kurdish deportees to Kirkuk.

Paris (AsiaNews) – Talks and negotiations between Shiites and Kurds are a good sign. They show that dialogue is the way to find a place for all Iraqi communities in the new government.

Saywan Barzani, envoy of the government of Iraq's Kurdish region, is optimistic about the future despite news that the Kurdish block and the Shiite alliance have failed so far to form a new Iraqi government.

"Finding a compromise between the parties will be difficult," he said, "but I am certain that the Constituent Assembly will build a new Iraq for everyone, without any distinctions".

The two sides that won the January 30 elections announced yesterday evening that they could not reach an agreement before the first session of Iraq's new parliament scheduled for this Wednesday. Kurds and Shiites hold a two third majority in the new National Assembly.

Saywan Barzani, nephew of Massoud Barzani, leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, explained that Kirkuk remains the stumbling block.

"We are demanding the government ensure the immediate return of the 100,000 people deported by Saddam's regime and the repatriation of Arab colonists to central and southern Iraq," he said. "Shiite leaders want to wait and have the constitution drafted first".

Iraq's new parliament will meet for the first time on March 16, a day Kurds will never forget, according to Barzani. It was on this day, in 1988, that Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons against the city of Hallabija, killing four to five thousand people.

The Kurds, who are 3 million out of Iraq's 27 million people, want the Presidency to go to their leader, Jalal Talabani; they are also seeking the ministries of Finance, Interior and Defence as well as the incorporation of the city of Kirkuk into the federal region of Kurdistan. For them Kirkuk is their true capital and its immediate region is also the oldest oil-producing area of the country.

Ibrahim al-Jaafari, leader of Dawa (a predominantly-Shiite, conservative Islamic party), could become the next Prime Minister.

Barzani said he was convinced that all parties agree at least on one point: federalism. "The future Iraq," he explained, "will be federal and democratic. Fundamentalists will not influence the constitution-making process to force the introduction of Islamic law".

Any frictions or differences of opinion that appear now should not be seen in a negative light, the Kurdish envoy said. "They are proof," he stressed, "of a common will to bring everyone—Shiites, Assyrians, Kurds, Chaldeans, Sunnis, Turkmen— into the new government. It won't be easy, but a new Iraq won't be possible if it doesn't include everyone, minorities as well".

See also

15/03/2005 IRAQ
Talks on new Iraq government back on
Shiites and Kurds will meet representatives from Sunni community and outgoing Prime Minister Allawi's party. An official from the Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution in Iraq says non-elected officials will represent Sunnis in the government as well.

11/09/2017 09:38:00 IRAQ
Barzani: Ready for new borders of Kurdistan

The President of Iraqi Kurdistan confirms his intention to go to the polls and to battle for the future of Kirkuk. The city must be a "symbol of coexistence of all ethnicities". The "Yes" victory does not automatically involve the declaration of independence, but will strengthen negotiations with the central government.

08/06/2017 10:10:00 IRAQ
On September 25 Kurdistan to vote for independence from Baghdad

Hundreds of thousands of refugees - Christians, Muslims and Yazidis-escaped from the Islamic State have been sheltering in the region. The area is rich in oil and natural gas and has long been contended between local authorities and central government. Turkey, Syria and Iran against the project for fear of internal secessions.

25/08/2005 IRAQ
No to terrorism, but no also to the new constitution, says Sunni leader

03/03/2005 IRAQ
Christians throng churches, no longer leave Iraq , says Bishop of Baghdad
Shiite-Kurdish alliance is forming ahead of next week's inaugural session of the new National Assembly.

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