January 13, 2018 / 12:57 AM
Nechirvan Barzani, Pope discuss Vatican role in easing ties with Baghdad

Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani and Pope Francis have concluded their meeting at the Holy See on Friday.

Their meeting was a short one, but they touched on the current situation in the Kurdistan Region, relations with Baghdad, and the refugees and IDPs being hosted in the Region, Fuad Hussein, chief of staff of the Kurdistan Region Presidency, told Rudaw.

"Barzani in general put forward the economic, social and political conditions and relations with Baghdad. They were all discussed," Hussein added.

 “The Pope asked a number of questions with respect to the situations we were going through,” he explained, with the pontiff asking about what the Vatican could do in terms of relations with Iraq and internationally.

 “More importantly, the role Vatican could play in helping the Kurdistan Region in order to resolve [its issues] with Baghdad in a peaceful way, through talks and dialogue was discussed in detail,” Hussein explained.

According to Shafaq news he said that the KRG visits to European countries like France and Germany demonstrate to Iraq that Baghdad cannot put the Kurdistan Region at bay and disconnect it from the outside world.

Baghdad’s embargo on the KRG “is being shattered bit by bit,” Hussein said. “There is going to be even more meetings, visits and support.”

Rulers in Baghdad will eventually understand “the politics they are pursuing against the Kurdistan Region is not right.”

Addressing a recent visit of three opposition parties to Baghdad, Hussein said that “genuine” talks must be held with a representative from the KRG, because any agreement that is ultimately made, must be “reached between the KRG and the Iraqi government.”

He was optimistic that the long anticipated dialogue “will start in the end,” preferably before Iraqi elections in May.

PM Barzani is also expected to meet with Vatican's Secretary for Relations with States Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Vatican's de facto foreign minister.

Reporter’s code: 50101