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EU Ambassador to Iraq Mediates Erbil-Baghdad Talks
By Ehsan Mamakani

A European Union (EU) delegation headed by Ramon Blecua, the EU Ambassador to Iraq, met Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani on Monday in Erbil to discuss the political situation in Iraq and the Kurdish independence referendum.

The EU delegation highlighted the role of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in coordinating between the EU and international NGOs in the Kurdistan Region.

The EU Ambassador to Iraq spoke highly of the KRG and the people of Kurdistan's support for refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the Region.

The visiting delegation indicated its readiness to mediate between Erbil and Baghdad to de-escalate tensions over the momentous independence referendum.

In the meeting, President Barzani emphasized the Kurdish stance to promote peaceful dialogue with Baghdad regarding independence.

The President clarified that the KRG encourages unconditional talks with the central government in Baghdad on an open agenda.

He has repeatedly announced the Kurdish government is willing to maintain dialogue with the Federal Government of Iraq without any time frame.

The Kurdistan Region held an independence referendum on Sep. 25.

More than 92 percent of over three million people who cast valid ballots voted "yes" to independence from Iraq, according to official results announced by the Kurdish Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) on Sep. 27.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi asked for the referendum results to be annulled immediately after the announcement.

Baghdad threatened military action against Kurds and imposed a ban on international flights over Kurdish airspace on Sep. 29 in retaliation for the independence referendum.

The Federal Government in Baghdad has repeatedly labeled the Kurdish independence referendum unconstitutional and rejected any dialogue in this regard.

In the latest meeting of the Iraqi Council of Ministers, Iraqi National Security Council, and PM Abadi on Monday a new list of sanctions against the KRG was released.

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany.

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