Iraqi Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, met with the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Prime Minister, Nechirvan Barzani, for the first time since the Kurds’ controversial independence referendum last year, Iraqi government and Kurdish media said.

A statement by Abadi’s office said that, the prime minister “received a delegation from the Kurdistan region, headed by Nechirvan Barzani, accompanied by his deputy, Qubad Talabani and Fuad Hussein.”

During the meeting, Abadi underlined the importance of “restoring and activating all the powers of the federal authorities in the region, including the border crossings and airports,” said the statement.

Abadi also said, Iraq’s international border lines must be under the control of the federal government, as it is part of the exclusive powers of the federal authority, according to the statement.

Abadi reiterated his government’s stance that, the Kurdish region should hand over the extracted oil from the region to the federal authorities, and that the export of oil should exclusively be done by the federal government, through the federal oil ministry, it said.

Earlier in the day, the Kurdish media network said that, Abadi met with Barzani and his deputy, Qubad Talabani, along with Fuad Hussein, head of the regional presidency office in Baghdad.

The meeting was the first of such kind between the two sides, as tensions have been running high between Baghdad and Kurdistan’s regional capital, Erbil, after the Kurds held a referendum on the independence of the Kurdistan region and disputed areas, on Sept 25, 2017.

On Oct 16, Abadi, who is also Commander-in-Chief of the Iraqi forces, ordered government forces to enter the oil-rich Kirkuk province, in northern Iraq, to regain control of the ethnically-mixed province and some other disputed areas.

Source: NAM News Network