Deal between KRG, Iraqi VPs ‘nonbinding’: Baghdad

The Iraqi government said Sunday an agreement reached between President of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) Masoud Barzani and Vice-President Ayad Allawi and Osama al-Nujaifi were not binding.

“The Iraqi administration will not recognize anything violating our constitution and the attitude of central government has not changed,” Saad al-Hadithi, a spokesman for the Prime Minister’s Office, said in a statement.

On Saturday, Barzani met with Allawi and al-Nujaifi in Sulaimaniyah for talks aimed at easing tension between Baghdad and Erbil following a controversial Kurdish independence referendum last month.

According to a statement from Barzani’s office, the three leaders agreed on starting dialogue between Erbil and Baghdad to “calm tense atmosphere” after former’s referendum.

The trio also agreed on carrying out talks with an open agenda, immediate lifting of sanctions on Erbil and launching meetings between Erbil and Baghdad as soon as possible, said the statement.

Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi, for his part, called for the KRG to cancel the illegitimate referendum results, saying that any talks between Baghdad and Erbil will only begin after cancelling the vote results.

According to results announced by the KRG, almost 93 percent of registered voters cast ballots in favor of independence.

The illegitimate referendum was heavily criticized by most regional and international actors, many warning that it would distract from Iraq’s ongoing fight against terrorism and further destabilize the already-volatile region.