A delegation from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), headed by its Executive Secretary Mala Bakhtiar, arrived in Baghdad on Wednesday to discuss the formation of the new Iraqi government with Iraqi leaders.
Before meeting with the Iraqi leaders, the PUK delegation met with a delegation from the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) which was also visiting the Iraqi capital. Both parties reiterated the importance of a united Kurdish front in the future.
In the meeting with officials in Baghdad, the PUK delegation stressed the need to resolve issues through the constitution, stating that the people of Iraq are tired of waiting for better services and outstanding issues to be addressed.
Muqtada al-Sadr, whose Sairoon party finished highest in the May 12 parliamentary elections, described the PUK’s visit as a sign of the party’s openness with other political groups and said he hoped for the safety and unity of the Kurdish people.
“The Kurdish rights are guaranteed, and no one can violate them,” Sadr told the PUK delegation.
Haider al-Abadi, the current Iraqi Prime Minister and Head of the al-Nasr Coalition, received the PUK delegation in a separate meeting to discuss the issues between Baghdad and Erbil.
The delegation told Abadi that “resolving the Kirkuk issue, specifically the implementation of Article 140 of the constitution, the Kurdistan Region’s budget as well as the constitutional and democratic rights of the people of Kurdistan are important principles of negotiations,” .
The delegation also met with Nouri al-Maliki, Head of the State of Law Coalition.
A statement from Maliki’s office revealed that the meeting with the PUK “discussed the political and security developments, the future of the political process, and the post-election stage.”
“Both sides exchanged views about the future political process and the importance of finding a joint understanding that brings together all political parties to accelerate the formation of a comprehensive national alliance that works on establishing a strong government with a national program that meets the expectations of the Iraqi people,” the statement said.
Speaking to the press following the meetings, Bakhtiar said the Kurdish delegations had heard the views of all the parties in Baghdad and would consider the results in future meetings they hold with parties in the Kurdistan Region so they can come back to Baghdad with a united agenda.
Meanwhile, Khalid Shwani, one of the members of the PUK delegation, told a news conference on Wednesday that his party had not yet discussed the distribution of posts but claimed the position of Iraq’s president would continue to go to the PUK.