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Kurdistan Region prepared to help resolve Iraqi political disputes- Kurdistan Region PM | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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London/Erbil, Asharq Al-Awsat – Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on the sidelines of the Kurdistan Association of Pharmacists summit in Erbil on Wednesday, Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Barham Saleh stressed that “Iraq has suffered from successive crises over the past years, and the time has come to resolve all these crises by putting forward solutions for compromise” adding that “these solutions must be in compliance with the agreements signed between the Iraq political parties, as well as the Iraqi constitution.” Saleh also said that “the leadership of the Kurdistan Region is concerned with the security and stability of Iraq, with regards to both the political and security spheres; however security and stability will not be achieved by avoiding collective responsibility to protect the democratic process, or by rejecting Iraq’s constitutional principles and political agreements.”

Saleh also revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that “a delegation made up of members of the political bureaus of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and the Kurdistan Democratic Party will travel to Baghdad in the coming days to meet the political leadership there; the delegation will put forward our views, and will listen to the views of others.” He added that “in the event that we find sufficient grounds for the resumption of political dialogue to resolve these problems we are prepared to do so.”

The Kurdistan Region Prime Minister also stressed “let me confirm that these problems require radical solutions, not just deferment or postponement, for without such solutions – which abide with the Iraqi constitution and the political agreements in place – we will never be able to extricate ourselves from these problems.”

He added that “Iraq has suffered for long years from successive crises, and the time has come for us to work together…to overcome these crises in order to guarantee and protect the political and security situation, provide basic services, and secure a dignified life for the people of Iraq.”

The political situation in the Kurdistan Region remains ambiguous, particularly regarding the interactions of the two main Kurdish parties, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party that is led by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, and the Kurdish Democratic Party which is led by Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani. Barham Saleh is the deputy leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party. It is not certain whether Saleh will step down as Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region in favor of a Kurdistan Democratic party member as agreed, however Saleh stressed to Asharq Al-Awsat that “what concerns me is achieving my program of construction and reform to the satisfaction of the Kurdish people’s desires and the vision of our leadership.” He added that “the last thing that I think about is the issue of office, for I am working – as my predecessor did – for the benefit of our people and the Kurdistan Region, which also means the good of Iraq and the Iraqi people as a whole, as we are a part of this.”

Saleh also told Asharq Al-Awsat that “it is certain that I will not stand for reappointment [as Kurdistan Region Prime Minister], for I am not one of those concerned by office, but rather one of those who seeks to work diligently and pursue the government’s plans in the areas of construction and reform.”

Kurdish leadership sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that “the issue of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party relinquishing control of the post of Kurdistan Region prime minister or not has yet to be discussed and is not on the table.”

The Strategic Agreement signed between the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and the Kurdistan Democratic Party in 2005 calls for both parties to be involved in the Kurdistan Region government, but for the position of Kurdistan Prime Minister and Kurdistan Speaker of Parliament to be rotated every 4 years between the two parties. The Kurdistan Speaker of Parliament is Kemal Kerkuki of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, whilst Kurdistan Region Prime Minister is Barham Saleh of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. Both men have held these positions since the last elections on 25 July 2009.

During his speech before the Kurdistan Association of Pharmacists in Erbil, Saleh had stressed that “the Kurdistan Region government continues to implement its reform program in different areas, and the health sector is a priority for the government which aims to achieve major development and progress in the field of providing health services to citizens.”

The Kurdistan Region Prime Minister also made reference to the need to “review the overall health system” adding that “there is a need to review the administrative structure of hospitals and health institutions, and pay greater attention to drug control.”