US Suggests Third Party Mediation Between Kurdistan Region And Iraqi Government

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 A third-party mediation has become imperative between Kurdistan region and the central government in Baghdad. This has been communicated by US President Joe Biden’s administration in context of the ongoing dispute over oil and natural gas rights.

This was a recommendation that has come in meeting at Baghdad by the US assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, Barbara Leaf.

A settlement is the need of the hour. “What I suggested was that Baghdad and Erbil [where Kurdish leadership is based] discuss arrangements to take this into third-party negotiations or some other such venue so that, essentially, they could provide the space for discussions of a technical nature,” Ms. Leaf said in a press briefing.

Central to the dispute is a federal court decision taken in February that ruled that a 2007 oil and gas law in the Kurdistan region was unconstitutional and that Erbil must hand its crude oil supplies over to the central government. Kurds have never been kay with this arrangement. In addition to raising hackles in both Baghdad and Erbil, it has also been a sticking point in government formation attempts.

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This brought about a stalemate over the Cabinet formation, eventually leading to a flare of violence in Baghdad in September. Supporters of Shiite cleric Moqtada Al Sadr eventually took to streets and occupied government buildings inside the Green Zone. Keeping this in mind, senior US official have also stressed the need for dialogue with Mr Al Sadr and his supporters.

“Iraqis themselves told me how important it is that Sayed Moqtada Al Sadr‘s voice be heard. What I was arguing for was that Iraqi leaders engage in a wholly inclusive set of discussions and take all constituencies, hopes and aspirations into consideration,” she said.

Ms. Leaf stressed that Iraq’s grinding impasse over government formation is undermining the country’s potential.

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