Erbil, Iraq, Oct 2 (IANS) A newly-formed council of Political Leadership of Kurdistan – Iraq on Sunday replaced the High Referendum Council for Kurdistan region after the latter ended its mission of holding referendum on independence of the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan.
“The High Referendum Council, headed by regional President Masoud Barzani, held its first meeting after the Sept. 25 referendum and decided to form the Political Leadership of Kurdistan – Iraq for the post-referendum stage,” said Khalil Ibrahim, a member of the council at a news conference after the meeting, XInhua reported.
The High Referendum Council ended its task of holding the referendum on independence, and the newly-formed council of Political Leadership of Kurdistan – Iraq, also headed by Barzani, is responsible for dealing with the results of the referendum, including the relation with Baghdad and neighboring countries.
Ibrahim said that the new council welcomed the calls for dialogue with Baghdad as well as all the regional and international parties saying “we are ready to hold talks on all issues. We are part of Iraq, and Iraq is our country until this moment.”
Earlier, Barzani welcomed an initiative launched by former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi aiming at ending the crisis between the central government and the regional government by holding dialogue between the two sides without preconditions.
The Kurdish leadership also welcomed the call for dialogue presented by most revered Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani to resolve the crisis, which was exacerbated after the Kurdish region held the referendum on Sept. 25.
In the weekly Friday prayer, the representative of Sistani called for dialogue and that the two sides of the crisis must adhere to the constitution and renounce violence and threat.
Tensions have been running high between Baghdad government and the Kurdish region after the region held a controversial referendum on independence of Kurdistan and disputed areas, including Kirkuk.
The independence referendum was opposed by many countries because it would threaten the integrity of Iraq and it could undermine fight against Islamic State militants.
In addition, neighbouring countries such as Turkey, Iran and Syria see that such a step would threaten their territorial integrity, as larger populations of Kurds live in those countries.