PUK CRISIS DEPPENS : Barzani Warns Against Insecurity in Sulaimani

By RUDAW 3-2-2014 – ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Following a key resignation that deepened fissures inside the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani warned against any insecurity in Sulaimani, saying that was “a red line.”

“We consider the security of all and the stability of Sulaimani city as a red line,” Barzani told Rudaw. “The protection of security in the city is our duty as the government,” he said.His comments followed the deepening of a leadership crisis inside the PUK, which has been teetering since the absence of its leader Jalal Talabani, who has been absent from the political scene since a serious stroke in December 2012 and being flown to Germany.

At a plenum in October, the PUK set January 31 as the date for a convention to elect a new leader and restructure the party.  That meeting was never held, triggering the resignation of Barham Salih, one of the two deputy leaders of the PUK. “I am only an ordinary member of the PUK until the PUK holds its fourth convention,” Salih told reporters in Sulaimani.

Last month, PUK delegated Talabani’s powers to a three-person council that included Salih, Kosrat Rasul and Talabani’s wife, Hero Ibrahim.

“We live in a civil government and the internal situation of any party should not be a threat for the political work of any politician, party and the people,” Barzani noted. He reaffirmed that no detention or house arrests would be accepted outside of the law by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

“We are saying very frankly that no detention or house arrests outside of the law, and for political reasons, are permissible,” he stated.

Commenting on the situation in Sulaimani, the Kurdistan Region’s second city where the PUK controls security and holds sway, has raised public concern, Barzani said. “Protecting stability in Sulaimani for all the people, protecting the stability of peoples’ lives  and the protection of lives and freedoms of the political work of all politicians in that city and all the cities is the duty of the KRG,” Barzani stressed. He expressed confidence that all parties and politicians would act responsibly in the current sensitive situation. “We believe all parties realize the responsibility and are committed to this duty,” he said.

The KRG Prime Minister assured the people that the situation is calm in Sulaimani and no attempts are underway to undermine the stability of the city.

Meanwhile, sources told Rudaw that Iran is sending a senior delegation in the coming days to mediate among PUK leaders, to ensure that the situation of its old ally does not deteriorate further. Sources also said that Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani is in constant contact with the PUK leaders to resolve the issues. The president cancelled a planned visit to Washington on Friday, his decision coinciding with the deepening PUK crisis. The president’s office said the decision was taken because of the inconvenient timing of the trip.

– See more at: http://rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/020220141#sthash.R5oL0Hym.dpuf