All Kurdish conference postponed in northern Iraq due to local elections

3 September 2013 /TODAYSZAMAN.COM, İSTANBUL – A long-awaited grand Kurdish conference to discuss the future of region’s Kurds in Arbil, the capital of the northern Iraqi government, has been postponed for second time due to local elections scheduled to take place on Sept. 21.

The grand Kurdish conference which was scheduled to take place on Sept. 15 in Arbil that is expected to bring together major Kurdish political groups in the Middle East, faces obstacles as major parts to the conference fail to agree on the final schedule.

The cause of the postponement is the local elections, sources said.

The conference will be held on Nov. 25. The planned conference has led to concerns among regional countries as the whole region faces seismic changes that were triggerred by the Arab Spring. The autonomous status of Kurds in northern Iraq has become a source of inspiration for other Kurds in the region and the prospect of independence for Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has become stronger than ever amid lingering disputes with the central government in Baghdad. Nechirvan Barzani, the prime minister of Iraq’s KRG, who had talks with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu in Ankara on late July, has eased Turkey’s concerns over the conference and a potential decision to create a united Kurdistan during the conference. Barzani briefed Turkish officials about the conference.

While the Turkish side underlined that they do not adopt a negative stance against Kurds, Ankara noted its sensitivity for the “unalterableness of borders” and international laws. In response, the Iraqi Kurdish leader assured the Turkish side that they would not go ahead with any entity that might exacerbate Turkey’s concerns.