Ice keeping PUK leaders apart has thawed, says leader’s son

By Rudaw 12 March 2017 – SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region—Pavel Talabani, the eldest son of Iraq’s former president and secretary general of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) says that internal disputes within the party are getting close to a solution and that recent talks between various leaders have thawed the ice that had formed and kept them apart.“The problems inside the PUK are moving towards a solution and efforts for the unity inside the party have seen good progress,” Talabani has written in a Facebook post.

Pavel Talabani who is in charge of the anti-terrorism forces in the Sulaimani region has been recently seen mediating between some of the PUK’s disgruntled leaders and has himself participated in some of the rounds of talks aimed at keeping the party together.He says in his post that the PUK leaders are united in their vision for a unified PUK which could help the party itself as well as the Kurdistan Region overcome its current crisis.

“Now, all the PUK leaders agree on keeping the unity of the PUK in order to serve the people and Kurdistan Region’s crisis,” reads his post.The PUK has witnessed much internal dispute in recent months with the leadership split between the two deputy chiefs Barham Salih and Kosrat Rasul and Talabani’s wife Hero Ibrahim Ahmed and a small clique of her followers.

But now, says Farid Assasard, a member of the PUK leadership council, Pavel Talabani has attended most of the reconciliation meetings on behalf of his father and that these meetings have managed to bring the leaders closer.“In the last few days a number of important meetings were held on solving the issues within the PUK,” writes Pavel Talabani.

“And those very meetings have thawed the ice which would please the people of Kurdistan and the fans of the PUK,” he says. “And bigger steps are to follow.”

The PUK leader Talabani suffered a major brain stroke in 2012 and he has been recovering at home ever since, with much authority delegated to his family and certain leaders of the party.Barham Salih and Kosrat Rasul formed what they called a decision-making center last September as an alternative and counterbalance to the PUK leadership. But it is believed that the members of this center, except Salih, have attended the party talks in recent weeks.

The talks even have succeeded in ending the PUK’s various wings including the decision-making center, according to some party officials. However, Barzan Ahmed Kurda, a PUK leader said that Salih will not attend any party meetings unless his set of recommendations have been met, without giving further details.

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