PM Barzani: Maliki should step down


22.06.2014 – BasNews, Erbil – “In my view he [PM Nouri al-Maliki] shouldn’t stay as a prime minister,” said Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani in an interview with NBC News aired on Sunday.

When asked about Iraq’s unity the prime minister was quick to stress that Iraq is an artificial country with a variety of cultures, ethnicities and religions living within the borders. However, the premier steers clear of calling for a breakup of the state, instead he suggests federalism.

“I think this is the best solution for Iraq,” he said.

PM Barzani also called for a political solution over a military one but does view America’s deployment of military advisors to the country as a “good step”. However, he stresses, it is not enough to help Iraq and states that a greater American political engagement would benefit the country.

Regarding the oil-dispute between Baghdad and his government, Barzani legitimizes Kurdish oil sales by quoting the Iraqi constitution and stressing that what the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is doing does not breach the constitution.

Barzani accuses PM Maliki of cutting the Kurdish budget for “no reason” and stresses that the Kurdish region had to go ahead with oil sales and could not wait on Baghdad to resume the transfer of the federal budget. When asked about the Kurdish border with the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS), Barzani expresses concern and is adamant that the Kurdish region is doing everything in its power to protect the enclave from the Sunni insurgents. According to the premier, the KRG offered Baghdad a joint operation against a strengthening ISIS, but were met by a negative response and unwillingness to cooperate. This problem “will not be solved through a military operation, the only solution is a political solution,” concluded Barzani.