The Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) expressed readiness to freeze the outcome of the Kurdistan independence referendum in September to separate the region from Iraq. The KRG called in a statement on Wednesday for an immediate ceasefire and dialogue.
The move comes following the last clashes between the Iraqi forces, backed by the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), and the Kurdish forces, known as the Peshmerga, during the last ten days.
Ten days ago, the Iraqi forces seized control of the international airport, oil fields, the K1 military base, and the Tuz Khurmatu district southeast of Kirkuk after clashes with Peshmerga.
Kirkuk is a multi-ethnic, oil-rich city, home to about a million Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen, and Christians. Peshmerga forces took control of the city in 2014, after the Iraqi army fled a major offensive by the Islamic State (IS) group.
According to the statement, clashes between the Peshmerga and the Iraqi forces resulted in several casualties in each party and could lead to destroying the social textile of the Iraqi people.
On the other side, the Iraqi government does not respond to the Kurdish call. The announced official position for the Iraqi federal government is that there will be no dialogue until the KRG cancels the results of the referendum.
Professor of National Security at the Iraqi Al-Nahrain University Hussein Allawi believes that the KRG statement points out that the crisis remains between the two parties, and the federal government insists on canceling the outcomes of the referendum. This is why it did not comment on the Kurdish initiative from his point of view.
“The KRG bets on time; this is halting the crisis, not making a solution. The solution is canceling the outcomes of the unconstitutional referendum,” says Allawi.
Relations between the Iraqi federal government and Kurdish Regional Government have been suffering since the Kurdistan independence referendum in September. The referendum was faced by regional and international rejections.