Erbil-Baghdad deal on Sinjar ‘national step’ in interest of whole country: Region president

File – Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani. (Kurdistan Region Presidency)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani said an agreement between Erbil and Baghdad on Sinjar governance and security is a “national step” in the interest of the whole country.

On Friday, the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) reached a “historic agreement” to bolster the federal government’s authority in Sinjar in accordance with the constitution.

The agreement “ends the power of intruding groups, and paves the way for the reconstruction of the city and the return of its people in coordination with the Kurdistan Regional Government,” said Iraqi government’s spokesman Ahmed Mulla Talal.

Talal further said Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi “sponsored the historic agreement”.

The prime minister stressed “the government’s keenness and seriousness for Sinjar to be free of armed groups, whether local or from outside the borders”, Kadhimi’s office said.

In a statement, the Region’s president said he looked at the agreement with a positive and optimistic view.

“This agreement is a correct national step in the interest of the whole country,” Barzani stated.

“This step will lead to rebuilding and strengthening confidence between the Iraqi federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government,” he said.

Barzani called on international partners to help both sides reconstruct Sinjar and revive its infrastructure, the statement read.

Meanwhile, KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani said he spoke by phone with Kadhimi to commend both sides’ negotiating teams on their hard work.

PM Barzani added that Baghdad and Erbil had also agreed to work together to solve other issues including security, governance and service provision in Sinjar under the terms of the agreement.

“This important agreement is the result of months of hard work and negotiations between officials in Erbil and Baghdad … The normalization of Sinjar will ensure that its people can determine their own future,” the prime minister said.

“It is an example of what we can achieve when the Kurdistan Regional Government and the Federal Government work together, with mutual respect and shared objectives. I hope this is a sign of the progress we could make on other disputed territories between Erbil and Baghdad,” he stated.

Both Kurdish officials thanked Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary-General for Iraq Jeannine Hennis- Plasschaert for her support and efforts she made to help Baghdad and Erbil reach an agreement.

The U.N. envoy welcomed the agreement in a statement released on Friday, hoping it would usher in “a new chapter for Sinjar, one in which the interests of the people of Sinjar come first”.

It would also “help displaced people to return to their homes, accelerate reconstruction and improve public service delivery”, she said.

Hennis- Plasschaert cautioned that “for that to happen, stable governance and security structures are urgently needed”.

She also emphasized continued U.N. support to help normalize the situation in the district, according to the statement.

“Against all odds and in their darkest hour, the people of Sinjar remained determined to build a better future. May that future begin today”.

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