SULAYMANIYAH, Iraq, December 20, 2017 —
Bafel Talabani, son of Jalal Talabani and an advisor to the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, today called for the civil unrest seen in the region to end immediately and for the Baghdad government to make good on its commitments to pay public sector workers in Kurdistan and reopen Kurdish airspace to commercial traffic.
“I have been following events unfolding in Sulaymaniyah and Halabja with great concern and call on all stakeholders to bring calm to our streets. It is imperative that we stand united and resolve grievances in a peaceful manner,” said Talabani. He added that “violent protests and the destruction of property are unacceptable and my condolences go out to the families of the victims of the unfortunate unrest.”
The grievances over delayed wages are legitimate and Talabani is deeply concerned about the central government in Baghdad not paying Kurdistan its rightful share of the national budget. He argued that “wage payments must occur in full and without delay, especially as people brace for the harsh winter months without an adequate supply of heating oil and electricity.”
Although every Kurdish citizen has a right to peaceful demonstrations, Talabani encourages people to return to their homes and allow negotiations with Baghdad to produce results. “National unity must prevail and I urge all stakeholders to not exploit the current situation for political gains,” said Talabani.
He believes that paying outstanding wages, a reopening of our skies to international travel, resumption of trade, restoration of relations with foreign nations, and a normalization of political affairs with Baghdad will usher in better days for Kurdistan. Talabani urged people to “remain focused on such key issues, along with humanitarian needs, and to not be manipulated into divisions that will weaken us as a nation.”
Despite the hardships endured by the Kurdish people, Talabani believes that dialogue with the central government is the only way to settle differences and forge a better future. This is the message he conveyed during a recent trip in London where he urged the international community to help with mediation between the Kurdish regional government and Baghdad.
Additionally, recent developments points towards better prospects in Kurdistan:
- The Kurdish Regional Government was welcomed by the French President, Emmanuel Macron, and the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel. This is a strong sign that international relations are normalizing.
- The Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, called on the Iraqi government to end the international travel ban that has been hurting our local economy.
- Iran opened all land border crossings to Kurdistan.
These tremendous achievements should not be jeopardized by unrest on Kurdish streets that will not solve any issues. In fact, the Kurdish Regional Government needs a united home front, more than ever, so that it can negotiate from a position of strength for its rightful claims.
SOURCE Bafel Talabani Office
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