Germany calls for Baghdad-Erbil dialogue

Germany’s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel on Monday called on Iraq’s central government and the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq to resume dialogue.
Speaking at a joint news conference with KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani in Berlin, Gabriel underlined Germany’s financial support for Iraq in future would depend on resolution of internal conflicts.
“We wish to continue that [support]. But this requires that Iraq resolve its internal conflicts peacefully and democratically, and that we can find a way out of the strained situation now,” he stressed.
Germany has been one of the biggest international donors for Iraq, and provided humanitarian and development aid.
Gabriel revisited his criticism of the KRG for holding an illegitimate independence referendum in September.
“We said at that time that we expected serious problems. Unfortunately it has happened,” he said, and reaffirmed Germany’s commitment to the unity of Iraq.
“The tensions between Baghdad and Erbil must be reduced now,” he stressed, and expressed hope that Iraq’s central government would positively respond to recent calls by the KRG for dialogue.
Barzani thanked Germany for its political and military support for the KRG-affiliated Peshmerga forces which fought against Daesh.
He said the KRG respected Iraq’s constitution, and decisions taken by the Constitutional Court, and was ready for dialogue with Baghdad.
“Both sides should have willingness for that, and we expect from our friends in Germany to take a stronger role for bringing us together,” he said.

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