Arbil aiding Turkish peace process without interfering: KRG Prime Minister
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is helping Turkey carry out its peace process without interfering in Ankara's internal politics, KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani said today, emphasizing that the withdrawal of outlawed Kurdish militants was not a "small project." "We support the peaceful resolution of the Kurdish issue in Turkey. We are ready to do anything to help this process," Barzani was quoted as saying by Anatolia news agency during a news conference in Arbil. The outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) is set to begin a pullout from Turkish territory starting May 8. Barzani's statements come a day after Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy head Huseyin Celik's visit to Arbil. "I believe Mr. Masoud Barzani [president minister of the KRG] and Mr. Nechirvan Barzani will do their parts to extinguish this fire. This is my sincere opinion," Celik told reporters April 30. Barzani also announced that Iraqi Kurdish ministers and MPs would end boycotts of Parliament and the Cabinet that they began last month. A meeting that included Kurdish political parties "decided to return the Kurdish ministers and representatives to Baghdad ... and participate in sessions of the Iraqi Cabinet and Parliament," he said. The boycotts began in March after Kurds objected that the new federal budget did not allocate enough money to pay foreign oil companies working in the region. Kurdistan has signed oil contracts with various foreign firms without the approval of Baghdad, and complains that the federal government has not paid money owed to them. For its part, Baghdad regards as illegal all contracts not made by the federal government. Barzani's announcement came a day after he met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Baghdad. In addition to the oil deals, Arbil and Baghdad are at odds over issues including a swathe of territory in northern Iraq that the region wants to incorporate over Baghdad's strong objections, as well as power-sharing.