French President Emmanuel Macron reiterated his call for peace and dialogue on Saturday and asked Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in a phone call to do everything within his power to put an end to clashes with Kurdish forces.
In a statement released by the President of France’s media office, Macron asked that every measure be taken to avoid “clashes between Iraqi citizens” and that a dialogue between Erbil and Baghdad be initiated “within the framework of unity and the Constitution of Iraq.”
In the Oct. 28 phone call, the French President stressed that any dialogue between the Kurdistan Region and the Iraqi Federal Government should “take into consideration the rights of Kurds and other minorities.”
Macron also welcomed talks initiate over the weekend between the Kurdish Peshmerga Forces and the Iraqi federal forces, which resulted in a ceasefire, and who were “given the task to negotiate the terms for a joint redeployment to disputed territories.”
The French statement stands in contrast to the Iraqi one, which emphasized that the Iraqi Premier remained committed to “imposing federal authority at border crossings and regions in accordance with the Constitution.”
Macron’s office also acknowledged that Abadi highlighted the importance of “preserving Iraq’s national unity and of finding a concerted solution with the Kurds,” despite the Kurdish issue not being mentioned in the Iraqi PM’s press release.
Relations between Erbil and Baghdad considerably deteriorated since Baghdad launched attacks on the oil-rich province and city of Kirkuk on Oct. 26, as well as other disputed territories which have been under the protection of the Peshmerga since mid-2014.
On Wednesday, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) called for an immediate ceasefire and offered to freeze the results of the Sep. 25 independence referendum for discussions to begin, which Baghdad rejected. “We won’t accept anything but its cancellation and the respect of the Constitution,” said Abadi in a statement during a visit to Tehran on Thursday.
France and its partners in the US-led coalition welcomed the attempt to start a dialogue between Erbil and Baghdad. US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, on Thursday said he was “disappointed that the parties have been unable to reach an entirely peaceful resolution” and that he had encouraged Abadi to accept the KRG’s “overtures for talks on the basis of the Iraqi constitution.”