FM Davutoglu: "Forming an Iraqi govt is up to the Iraqis"
While expressing concern over the seven-month delay in the formation of a new government in neighboring Iraq, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu yesterday stressed that forming a government is a task solely for the Iraqis themselves. Davutoglu's remarks at a joint press conference with Iraq's visiting Deputy Prime Minister Rafi Al-Issawi came following Issawi's complaints over foreign meddling in Iraq's internal affairs, which he said was the main reason for the delay. Relations between Iraq and Turkey are healthy because Turkey doesn't intervene in Iraq's internal affairs and keeps an equal distance from all sectors of Iraqi society, Issawi said. For his part, Davutoglu said that the absence of a powerful, stable administration in Iraq weakens Turkey's fight against the terrorist PKK, which has bases in northern Iraq. "Turkey has been conveying the same message to all neighboring countries," Davutoglu added. "Forming a government in Iraq is a mission for our Iraqi cousins." He added, "Let a powerful and vigorous government be formed based on the culture of reconciliation, and let all our cousins find the opportunity for representation within this government. We place particular importance to the active involvement of al-Iraqiya – established together by our Sunni and Shiite cousins – in this process." He also said, "Our consultations on this issue are continuing with friendly and neighboring countries. During the UN General Assembly meeting (last month in New York), we spoke with officials from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iran, Kuwait, Jordan and Iraq. Iraq's stability is very important for the region, and regional stability is currently dependent on stability in Iraq." Regional countries' interest in Iraq is normal, but "this interest should be constructive," he added.