Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani, left, and Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani (photos Rudaw)

Kurdistan Region Leaders Urge Unity during Newroz Messages

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ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Rudaw.net) — The Kurdistan Region’s president and prime minister on Monday, March 23 urged for the Region to come together and unite in the face of intra-Kurdish disputes during their messages commemorating the Kurdish New Year.
Kurds celebrate Newroz, the Kurdish New Year, on March 21-23, with the occasion symbolizing a day of resistance and freedom from tyranny. The celebrations typically involve picnicking in the countryside and lighting bonfires.

Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani congratulated the nation on the occasion of Newroz, calling for authorities to renew efforts to resolve disputes.

“Let us make Newroz a new opportunity for cooperation and acceptance. So that we can overcome the problems and conflicts in the Kurdistan Region, and resolve the issues together with Baghdad with one voice and one position, through dialogue and on the basis of the constitution,” the president said in a televised speech.

President Barzani further reiterated that the Region is willing to resolve all issues and cooperate with the federal government on the basis of the constitution as well as “for supporting the work of government” in the country, adding that the cooperation between Erbil and Baghdad is “moving in the right direction.”

Speaking from a park in Erbil amid Newroz celebrations, Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani called on the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK)’s ministerial team to return to cabinet meetings amid an ongoing row between the two leading Kurdish parties on a number of issues.

“I call on the PUK team to return to the cabinet meetings. I reiterate my calls here for them to return,” Prime Minister Barzani said, having sent a similar message earlier in the day asking deputy premier Qubad Talabani to return to the meetings.

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“If we have good will, we can resolve these issues,” the Region’s premier added.
The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the PUK have been at loggerheads in recent months over the Region’s parliamentary elections, the transparency of the oil and local income of the provinces under their influence, and the assassination of a former PUK colonel in Erbil in October.

Despite working together in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), the two parties have established control over different parts of the Region, often being referred to as the “Yellow Zone” and “Green Zone.” The KDP is dominant in Erbil and Duhok provinces, while the PUK rules Sulaimani and Halabja.

“We have made all efforts to resolve our issues with the dederal government and we have a strong will to resolve all the issues,” Prime Minister Barzani continued.

Tensions between Erbil and Baghdad have been high over the past months due to disagreements over the legality of the Kurdistan Region’s oil and gas law and the Region’s share of the federal budget.

After approving the budget law last week, Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ al-Sudani stated that Erbil and Baghdad have reached an all-encompassing agreement to resolve outstanding issues, a statement highly welcomed by Kurdish leaders such as the Region’s prime minister, who on Tuesday, March 14, said that Sudani’s “goodwill is recognized and important to restoring trust.”

In their Newroz messages, the Kurdistan Region’s president and prime minister both urged locals celebrating and picnicking to respect the cleanliness and the beauty of the Region’s nature.

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