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Κυριακή, 17 Δεκεμβρίου 2017
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Macron Offers to Mediate Between Kurds and Baghdad

Emmanuel Macron offered to mediate between Erbil and Bagdad, Reuters published on Thursday, October 5.

France is the second biggest contributor of troops in the campaign against the Islamic State and is considered a direct stakeholder. “France is ready, if Iraqi authorities wish, to actively contribute to the mediation launched by the United Nations,” Reuters reports Macron as saying.

Since the independence referendum on Monday September 25, the Kurdish Autonomous Region has proclaimed its will to push towards secession. The drive towards Kurdish independence is complicating the common front against the Islamic State, as the Kurdish Peshmerga militia has been one of the forces spearheading the campaign.

The Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi was in Paris on Thursday.

Bagdad has found strong support from both Iran and Turkey against the push for Kurdish secession. This has resulted in a credible economic blockade of the landlocked region.

But, the government in Baghdad is seeking for a negotiated exit strategy from the current constitutional crisis. As a good will gesture, Bagdad seized a strategy of financial embargo of the region’s banks on Wednesday. The question is whether Erbil – the capital of the autonomous region – is willing to negotiate.

Iraq’s Prime Minister, al-Abadi, has made clear that Bagdad is unwilling but not unable to resort to violence, raising the specter of armed confrontation. Turkish troops have echoed this threat by conducting large-scale military exercises with across the border region with the participation of the Iraqi military. Besides territory, what is at stake is the oil-rich region of Kirkuk, a region that does not traditionally belong to Iraqi Kurdistan but that Peshmerga forces were able to control as they pushed back ISIS.

In a visit to Erbil on September 27, al-Abadi made a distinction between punishing Kurdish citizens and taking steps against the Kurdistan Regional Government. The Iraqi Prime Minister urged Erbil to surrender control of border crossings and airports to the federal government or risk confrontation.

https://www.neweurope.eu/article/macron-offers-mediate-kurds-baghdad/

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