Kurdistan Democratic Party chief Masoud Barzani. (AFP)
Saturday, 24 November, 2018 – 08:15
Baghdad – Hamza Mustafa
Head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party Masoud Barzani continued on Friday his series of meetings with various Iraqi leaderships by holding talks in al-Najaf city with Sadrist movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr.
Sadr described his talks with Barzani as “important and historic,” stressing that they are the beginning of a “new and positive approach on the political process in Iraq.”
He also hoped that Barzani’s visits to Baghdad and al-Najaf will close the chapter on the mistakes of the past and help pave the way for a new government.
The two sides agreed that a new opportunity is available for Erbil and Baghdad and they should both work on building trust and resolving disputes between them, said Sadr’s website.
Barzani had held talks in Baghdad on Thursday with Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi.
He was warmly received at the airport by parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi and head of the Fateh alliance Hadi al-Ameri. He then held talks with Abdul Mahdi and concluded the trip with dinner with former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
A senior Iraqi official told Asharq Al-Awsat that Barzani’s reception in Baghdad was different than the one shown to his nephew, Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, when he last visited the Iraqi capital.
Masoud Barzani was more warmly welcomed “because he has listened to international advice that said there can be no solution without reaching an understanding with Baghdad based on partnership and agreement on issues of contention.”
Head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party bloc at the Iraqi parliament Fiyan Sabri described to Asharq Al-Awsat that Barzani’s visit to Baghdad as “positive.”
She noted that it took place at a sensitive time in which the new Iraqi government was still being formed. The trip is an implicit show of support to Abdul Mahdi in his mission to form a new cabinet.
In addition, it was an opportunity to give all Iraqi political forces the chance to overlook the mistakes of the past and move forward towards new partnership, she explained.
“Masoud Barzani is a man of peace and a national leader. He is capable of bringing together all political forces and his visit to each of Baghdad and Najaf is a good sign,” she remarked.
Turkmen forces were not so optimistic, instead voicing concerns that Barzani’s visit would lead to agreements at their expense, even though he had also held talks during his trip with head of the Turkmen Front Arshad al-Salehi