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Barzani salutes those who never gave up on independence

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Barzani salutes those who never gave up on independence

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Sep 26, 2019 1:26 am


Barzani salutes those who never bowed
on independence referendum anniversary

Masoud Barzani, former Kurdistan Region president, saluted those Kurds who “never bowed down” to opponents of the Region’s independence referendum on the vote’s second anniversary

“On this special day, I highly and respectfully salute and appreciate those who never bowed down,” the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) leader tweeted Wednesday.

    On this special day, I highly and respectfully salute and appreciate those who never bowed.
    — Masoud Barzani (@masoud_barzani) September 25, 2019
Barzani did not comment on the events which unfolded in the weeks after the referendum, including the Iraqi military offensive against Kurdish Peshmerga forces in the disputed territories, or the recent improvement in relations between Erbil and Baghdad.

The former president, who resigned in the aftermath of the referendum, marked the first anniversary by telling voters during the Region’s parliamentary election last year “do not bow”.

Around 93 percent voted “Yes” to independence in the non-binding referendum, despite intense pressure from neighboring countries and the Iraqi government’s threats to attack the Region

In response to the referendum, the Iraqi Army and the Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) launched attacks against Peshmerga positions in the territories disputed between Erbil and Baghdad on October 16, 2017.

The Iraqi government of then-prime minister Haider al-Abadi placed an embargo on the Kurdistan Region’s two international airports and Iran closed its border crossings with the Region.

Relations have since markedly improved between Erbil and Baghdad since Adil Abdul-Mahdi became prime minister in late-2018.

Known for his good relations with Kurdish leaders, including Barzani, Abdul-Mahdi has resumed pre-referendum relations and even improved them is several respects.

Iraq’s former prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, cut the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) share of the federal budget from 17 percent to zero in 2014 after the semiautonomous region began selling its oil independently.

Abdul-Mahdi reinstated the KRG’s share of the federal budget, albeit at the reduced rate of around 12 percent. In exchange, the KRG was asked to send 250,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil to Iraq’s state oil marking body SOMO.

To date, Erbil has not kept its end of the bargain, however, and has not sent a single barrel of oil.

Baghdad has been sending money to pay the salaries of KRG employees since January, but there are fears Iraqi lawmakers may halt the payments if the Region fails to send its oil quota.

Nevertheless, the KRG cabinet – led by Barzani’s son Masrour – has said it will seek stronger relations with Baghdad.

Delegations have shuttled back and forth between Erbil and Baghdad in recent months. Both sides have formed committees for talks on the joint administration of the disputed territories, the KRG’s share of the federal budget, and the touchy subject of independent oil sales.
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Barzani salutes those who never gave up on independence



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