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PM Barzani Blames External Sides for Exploiting, Derailing Peaceful Protests

Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani held a press conference on Wednesday to speak to the nation about the current situation in Kurdistan Region, shedding light on the disputes with Baghdad, financial hardship, and protests across Sulaymaniyah province.

PM Masrour Barzani reiterated his government’s full support for peaceful protests by the people who suffer from Baghdad’s financial policies towards Erbil. However, he urged all to avoid violence and destruction of public and private properties.

“The right to peaceful protest is vital. But the violence in recent days is unacceptable. It is our shared responsibility to maintain the safety and security of everyone, including protestors and public and private property,” PM Barzani said.

During his detailed speech, the Kurdish leader suggested that the peaceful protests for delayed salaries were hijacked by external parties to harm the Kurdistan Region as a political and constitutional entity.

He further revealed that the Syrian nationals and people from outside Kurdistan Region were among the protesters.

According to the Kurdistan Region premier, snipers and RPG weapons were used to attack offices of almost all the political parties as well as government offices and public properties. “So these were not protesters, but people who attack the achievements,” PM Barzani added.

Concerning the ongoing negotiations with the federal government, PM Barzani explained that the KRG has worked hard to reach a fair constitutional settlement with the federal government, and it has not left any excuses for Baghdad to fail to deliver its obligations to Kurdistan.

“Regrettably, the federal government has not shown flexibility in our talks. Baghdad has not paid any budget share to Kurdistan for six months this year. We have not lost hope with Baghdad yet.”

PM Barzani noted that the KRG delegation will return to Baghdad soon to continue the talks and look for a solution.

“The sacrifices we have all paid for the federal autonomy we hold dear should not be sold out now for short term gains. The KRG’s finances have already been hit by the coronavirus pandemic, internal revenues and and oil prices,” the Kurdish leader emphasized.

“Rest assured that we will continue to seek a reasonable, constitutional solution to the budgetary issues with Baghdad. The KRG will continue to work hard to address these issues and continue with our reforms to reduce costs, increase revenues, and improve governance.”