UK ‘encouraged’ by improved Erbil-Baghdad relations, Sinjar Agreement: diplomat

Halgurd Sherwani | – James Roscoe, the UK acting Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, during a Security Council session, Aug. 26, 2020.

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The United Kingdom is hopeful of the “improved” relationships between the Kurdistan Region and Iraq’s federal government, including the recently signed agreement between the two on normalizing the administrative and security situation in the Yezidi-majority town of Sinjar, a top British diplomat to the United Nations said on Tuesday.

The British diplomat’s remarks came during a UN Security Council session, held to discuss the situation in Iraq, which its members were briefed by the head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

In the briefing, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, the special representative of the UN Secretary-General to Iraq, outlined the existing crisis Iraq is grappling with, namely economic distress, reform process, upcoming elections, and Erbil-Baghdad relations.

“The UK is encouraged by improvements in the relationship between the Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), including Sinjar Agreement,” James Roscoe, the UK acting Deputy Permanent Representative to UN, said.

In early October, the Iraqi government and the KRG announced they had reached an agreement to restore and normalize the situation in the Sinjar (Shingal) area, where competing armed groups are active.

The agreement, which is welcomed by the UN and local officials, includes understandings to withdraw all armed groups from the area, restore the local administration, and appoint a new mayor.

“It is vital that all armed groups cooperate with its implementation and that both the government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq help to restore services and economic livelihood,” the British diplomat said.

The Iraqi government and the KRG are in talks over various issues that have hindered their relations, mainly over the region’s share in the federal budget and disputed territories claimed by both governments.

The UNAMI head in Iraq in her briefing to the council mentioned that “the payment of public servants should be shielded from political disputes, they cannot and should not be collectively victimized.”

“We urge Baghdad and Erbil to agree to a long-term solution on resources and revenue sharing,” Roscoe said in the session.

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany