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Kurdistan government puts forward initiative to stabilize region

Published: Updated:

In a tactic to ease the tension between Erbil and Baghdad, the Kurdistan Regional Government in northern Iraq requested in a statement on Wednesday, an immediate cease-fire and military operations between the federal forces and the Peshmerga forces.

Additionally, they called for the referendum process held in Kurdistan to stop, and the start of an open dialogue between the government of Kurdistan and the central government on the basis of the Iraqi constitution.

In retaliation, Iraq recently seized large areas of territory that Kurdish forces had captured over the years beyond the borders of the autonomous region.

In a statement released overnight, the Kurdistan government said it would "propose to the government and Iraqi public opinion (...) the freezing of the results of the referendum (...) and the start of an open dialogue between the government of Kurdistan and the central government on the basis of the constitution."

The three-point text was released after some 30 Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and members of Iraqi government and paramilitary forces died in operations "to restore central power" in the disputed territories, including the wealthy province of Kirkuk.

‘A worthless initiative’

On the other hand, the Popular Mobilization Forces said on Wednesday that the initiative of the Kurdistan government to “freeze” the results of the referendum on the independence of the region “has no value,” stressing that the central government should “annul” the results of this vote.

“The initiative is worthless, because the freeze means recognizing the referendum, and the government's request is clear, to cancel the referendum,” the spokesman for the Popular Mobilization Units, Ahmed al-Asadi told AFP.

Within the framework of this initiative, the president of the Kurdistan region Masoud Barzani ordered the release of Iraqi soldiers captured by the Peshmerga. News websites published the pictures of the 25 soldiers of the Iraqi army who were captured by the Peshmerga at the entrance of the south of Erbil, near the district of Makhmur.