BAGHDAD,—  2 April 2016 – Former Iraqi MP and Kurdish political figure Mahmoud Othman said on Friday the existence of Kurdish representatives in the Iraqi government has no value as issues between Erbil and Baghdad have not been resolved.The Kurdish position in Baghdad is decreasing day by day following the suspension of negotiation between both sides, Othman told NRT.

“Kurdish issues aren’t about posts in Iraq but about land, associating in government, the constitution, Article 140 [the Kirkuk referendum], Peshmerga, oil and gas,” Othman said. “The existence of a Kurdish president and Kurdish ministers will have no significance if Kurds don’t agree with Baghdad on these issues.”Othman added Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has ignored Kurds since the formation of the government in 2014.Abadi ignored Kurds when nominating candidates for the ministries and he has not paid attention to the Kurds from the beginning of forming the new government,” the former MP said.

Abadi announced on March 31 changes made to the Iraqi cabinet and the reduction of cabinet ministers, which has been reduced from 22 to 16.He merged several portfolios and presented a list of 16 ministers while keeping the current defense and interior ministers.Kurdish representatives in Baghdad announced on Wednesday (March 30) they will not accept a reduction of the Kurdish quota in the formation of Iraq’s new cabinet, saying their rights should not be violated in the name of reform. The representatives insisted reforms require an agreement between political parties, saying they cannot be implemented by a unilateral decision. Kurdish representatives in Iraq call for 20 percent of positions in the Iraqi cabinet to be filled by Kurdish officials, which is the percentage of Kurdish representation in the legislature. Kurds have three ministerial positions in the Iraqi cabinet – culture, migration and finance – as well as the presidency. According to Kurdish officials in Baghdad, only 13 percent of all Iraqi government positions are held by the Kurds.