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 Kurdistan President doesn't need Baghdad's permission for international visits: KBC

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Kurdistan President doesn't need Baghdad's permission for international visits: KBC  2.5.2012  

President of the autonomous Kurdistan Region Massoud Barzani. Photo: KRP.  See Related Links

May 2, 2012

ERBIL-Hewlêr, Kurdistan region 'Iraq', — President of the autonomous Kurdistan Region Massoud Barzani does not need to obtain permission from Baghdad for his regional and international visits, said the spokesman for the Kurdish Blocs Coalition (KBC) in the Iraqi Council of Representatives on Wednesday.

Muayyid Tayyeb denied that such visits are "personal", as they come in response to calls by officials and leaders of the concerned countries.

Tayyeb said: "Barzani's visits to the neighboring countries and other countries were carried out as head of the region. All of them are official visits that take place in response to official invitations from the leaders of these countries."

MP Ali al-Allak from the State of Law Coalition led by PM Nouri al-Maliki said in a statement that Barzani's visit to the Gulf countries was a "personal visit".

Allak added: "Every political leader who leaves the country must coordinate with the Iraqi Foreign Ministry to prevent any external interference in Iraq's affairs.

"Barzani's tour of the Gulf countries is personal and we weren't informed about what will be discussed."

Tayyeb rejected Allak's comments, stating: "Barzani is a well-known leader and has strong regional, Arab and international relations that aim to serve the new Iraq which is based on consensus and support of the democratic process. He aims to serve all Iraqis and the Kurdistan region as well.

"Saying that these visits show a divided country is not accurate, and those who are saying that monopolize the political decision.

"Iraq's foreign policy is governed by the federal constitution, which states in one of its terms that Iraq seeks to build good relations with its surroundings and work to resolve their differences using diplomatic and political means.

"There might be a sense of envy of the relationships and respect that Barzani enjoys as president of the region due to his wisdom.

"All the relations of the president of the Kurdistan Region can benefit Iraq as a whole because at the end they will be for the interest of the country in general."

Barzani arrived to the United Arab Emirates on Monday at the head of a delegation including the Vice President of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Imad Ahmed, KRG Minister of Planning Ali Sindy, KRG Foreign Relations Department official Falah Mustafa, head of the region's investment committee Hersh Muharram and a number of advisers.

The officials discussed many economic and investment issues related to the two sides.

The presidency of the Kurdistan Region announced on Tuesday that Barzani will travel to Qatar after his visit to the UAE.

These visits were preceded by trips to a number of European countries, as well as a visit to Washington DC at the beginning of April where Barzani met US President Barack Obama.

Relations between Baghdad and Erbil deteriorated after Barzani criticized Maliki, stating that the PM is taking Iraq into the "unknown".

By Khudr Khallat

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