Iraq’s Parliamentary Speaker and Kurdish President Seek A Solution For Baghdad-Erbil Conflict

23/12/2012 RUDAW – ERBIL, Kurdistan Region—Iraq’s parliamentary speaker Osama Nujeifi arrived in Erbil on Saturday and met with Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani to discuss a possible solution for the current tensions between Baghdad and Erbil.

“Nujeifi told President Barzani that the members and ministers of the Iraqiyah have authorized the leaders of the bloc to seek a solution for the current crisis,” read a statement from Barzani’s office.

Nujeifi is a member of Iraq’s Sunni-majority Iraqiyah bloc led by former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi. “In their meeting, both Barzani and head of the delegation said that the country cannot stand another crisis,” said the statement, referring to an incident this week when Iraqi security forces raided the house of Iraq’s Finance Minister Rafei al-Essawi in Baghdad and detained nine of his bodyguards. The same day, the finance minister, a Sunni, told Sharqiyah TV that close to 150 members of his staff had been abducted. Al-Essawi held the Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki responsible for the safety of his staff and bodyguards who were arrested in his ministry and his house.

“My message to the prime minister: You are a man who does not respect partnership at all, a man who does not respect the law and the constitution, and I personally hold you fully responsible for the safety of the kidnapped people,” al-Essawi told the media on Thursday.

Meanwhile in their meeting, read the statement from Barzani’s office, the Kurdish president and Nujeifi said, “The federal government should have taken into account the sensitive time the country is going through due to President Talabani’s illness,”

The president’s office said that Barzani and Nujeifi discussed a range of issues behind closed doors and that “President Barzani will share details of the meeting with Kurdistan’s political parties.”

This is Nujeifi’s third visit to Erbil in the past few months. In an interview last month, Fuad Hussein, Kurdistan’s presidential chief of staff, told Rudaw that Iraq’s parliamentary speaker had “Visited Kurdistan twice for the same purpose. In both of his visits Osama Nujeifi said Maliki wants a return to an earlier agreement about the armed forces in the disputed areas, and to have the police run the security of the cities.