Barzani Visits Baghdad, Discusses Kurdish Fears on Constitutional Reform
Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani has launched a visit to Baghdad as mass protests continue to mount in Iraq amid a reform package by the government to appease demonstrators.
During his visit, Barzani discussed local and regional developments with each of Iraqi President Barham Salih, Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi and Parliament Speaker Mohamed al-Halbousi.
Following the meeting, statements issued by the offices of Salih, Abdul Mahdi and Halbousi emphasized the discussion of well-known principles namely “the security and political situation, the relationship between the federal government and the Kurdistan Region and the importance of promoting stability in the country.”
Ahead of Barzani’s visit, Kurds expressed fears towards any constitutional amendment negatively affecting the rights of the Kurdish people. Erbil and Baghdad had long disputed over clauses in the constitution.
Barzani's visit to Baghdad follows a visit last week by Salih to Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Region, where he held meetings with Kurdish leaders.
According to sources, the Kurdish leadership stressed during its meeting with Salih that any constitutional amendment must preserve the federal system and the rights and freedoms of all components of Iraq, especially the rights of the Kurdistan Region.
In his meeting with Salih, Barzani discussed “amendments planned for the Iraqi constitution,” deputy speaker Bashir Haddad told reporters in Baghdad.
Haddad pointed out that Barzani affirmed the region’s “support for any constitutional amendments that serve Iraq and ensure better services to the Iraqi people in general.”
Barzani reiterated this position during his meeting with Halbousi, saying “any amendments to the constitution must serve the interests of Iraq, the country’s stability, and protect the constitutional rights of the Kurdistan Region and all of Iraq’s components in general.”