Bafel Talabani, the leader of Iraqi Kurdistan’s second ruling party, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), held a series of crucial meetings in Baghdad on Wednesday with the leaders of Iraq’s prominent political coalition blocs, with the recent attack on Arbat airport in Sulaymaniyah taking centre stage. The drone attack, launched from Turkey, was condemned by Iraqi leaders.
While condemning the attack, both Talabani and Nuri Al-Maliki, the leader of the State of Law Coalition, jointly called on the Iraqi government to fulfil its constitutional obligations to ensure the security and stability of the country.
During the meeting, Talabani also stated that Halabja would be a new province within the Kurdistan Region soon, expressing his support for the people of Halabja.
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) recognised Halabja as its fourth province in 2014, after Duhok, Erbil and Suleymaniyah. A decree recognising it as a new province in the country was also issued by the Iraqi government in March. Iraqi lawmakers are due to vote on recognising Halabja as Iraq’s 19th province, but progress on this front has been slow. The Iraqi parliament has postponed the debate on Halabja’s status three times in the past week.
To further cement the cooperative stance, Talabani met with Hadi Al-Amiri, the leader of the Al-Fatah Alliance, and Ammar al-Hakim, the head of the National Wisdom Movement.
In his meeting with Al-Amiri, the leaders discussed what they called the “terrorist attack” on Arbat airport, Iraqi sovereignty and the developing situation in the Halabja province. They underlined the importance of continued coordination between their respective parties to address these pressing issues, while stressing the need to maintain peace and stability not only in Iraq but in the wider region.
The PUK leader stressed that “attacks on military, legal and constitutional institutions represent a dangerous turn of events that we must confront together. It is imperative that we do not allow the borders of our country to be breached under any pretext.”
Al-Hakim, who was among the first to condemn Monday’s attack in Sulaymaniyah, stressed the urgent need for a unified national effort to counter threats to Iraq’s security and stability. Both leaders also strongly condemned attacks on security institutions, which have played a central role in the “war on terror” and in protecting the lives and security of Iraqi citizens.