The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) issued a joint statement after a crucial meeting held in Sulaymaniyah on Sunday. The agreement comes amidst a backdrop of ongoing efforts to address longstanding issues between the two ruling parties of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
While specific details of the agreement were not provided, the following key points were touched upon:
Embracing parliamentary elections
In a show of unity and democratic commitment, both the KDP and PUK have pledged their unequivocal support for the scheduling of Iraqi Kurdistan’s eagerly anticipated parliamentary elections.
The PUK has not overtly objected to elections in the past, but lingering apprehensions about the timing and associated complexities have persisted.
The statement indicates that a specific date will be determined through consultations with other political entities, a process that has, regrettably, been beset by delays in the past.
Fostering unity and collaboration
Seeking to prioritise the welfare of the populace of Iraqi Kurdistan, both parties have pledged to rise above petty grievances and divergences. Instead, they aim to synergise their efforts to address the pressing challenges confronting the region.
Peshmerga reform on the horizon
The agreement includes a steadfast commitment to forge ahead with the vital reform process within the Peshmerga forces. This move appears to be a proactive response to concerns raised by Western partners, who have correlated crucial aid with ongoing reforms within the Peshmerga Ministry.
The United States Consulate General – Erbil (Hewlêr) showed appreciation for the PUK and KDP agreement, endorsing their support for the unification and reform of the Peshmerga. “We look forward to seeing progress as the two sides come together and negotiate the remaining issues to benefit the people of Iraqi Kurdistan,” the mission said on Twitter.
As the primary forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq, the Peshmerga militias have operated independently under the governance of the two ruling parties, not under the direct control of the KRG. This lack of centralised control has posed challenges in the US’s partnership with the KRG. To address this, the US had planned to unify the Kurdish Peshmerga forces, providing financial aid and weapons with the objective of countering extremist groups like the Islamic State (ISIS).
Unwavering support for agreements achieved by the KRG’s ninth cabinet
Both the KDP and PUK have expressed unwavering support for the agreements achieved by the ninth cabinet of the KRG, signifying a united front in pursuing shared objectives.
The PUK’s previous disagreements with the KDP in Baghdad have been a perpetual source of tension, and the agreement could potentially signal a strategic pivot in their approach. However, the track record of past agreements broken inevitably raises questions about the sustained commitment of both parties to adhere to this critical aspect of the accord.
Bolstering bilateral ties
Recognising the pivotal role of communication and cooperation, both parties have committed to continuing regular bilateral meetings, endeavouring to transcend barriers and foster a cohesive political atmosphere that embraces all factions.