KDP, PUK stress unity while meeting opposition parties separately

KDP, PUK stress unity while meeting opposition parties separately

Leading parties in the Kurdistan Region are intensifying negotiations in what they say are preparations to advocate for a united Kurdish agenda in Baghdad as part of the next Iraqi government.

Early Wednesday, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, spearheading a Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) delegation, met with Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU) leader Salahaddin Bahaaddin and other officials in Erbil.

“We want all [Kurdish] parties to go to Baghdad together,” Barzani said during a press conference held at the tail end of his meeting with Bahaaddin. “We will be going to Baghdad with the PUK in the coming days, and we would like for all sides to join us.”

“Even if we don’t go together, what is important is that we work together,” he said, adding to repeated calls in past months for a unified Kurdish front when facing Iraqi parties as part of efforts to serve Kurdish interests nationally.

Behaaddin explained, “What is important is unified action.” He also said that the four complaining parties—KIU, Gorran, Komal, and Coalition for Democracy and Justice (CDJ)—will be holding talks to see whether it is possible to join the KDP and PUK’s alliance.

Also on Wednesday in Erbil, a Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) delegation led by head Mala Bakhtiyar accompanied by spokesperson Saadi Ahmed Pira met with Kurdistan Islamic Group (Komal) leader Abdul-Sattar Majid. During the post-meeting joint press conference, Majid claimed, as has become the norm, that the four parties had a single project on the question of going to Baghdad but did not go into specifics.

Pira warned that Kirkuk—currently run by Baghdad with locals fearing Arabization—was in a dire situation and that it was a topic they had covered extensively in the meeting as well as a Tuesday meeting with the KDP.