Iraqi Kurdish president visits Baghdad to ease disputes

July 7, 2013 13:05

BAGHDAD - The president of Iraqi Kurdistan, Masoud Barzani, visited Baghdad on Sunday for the first time in more than two years, in a step towards resolving long-running disputes between the central government and the autonomous region over land and oil.

The visit follows an equally rare trip by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki who met Barzani in Kurdistan last month, easing tensions between leaders who have repeatedly accused each other of violating the constitution.There was little concrete progress then, and officials on both sides said any major breakthrough on Sunday was unlikely, but the focus would be on how committees formed to resolve the disputes should work.

"The main thing the (Iraqi) prime minister and the Kurdistan region's president will discuss is how to activate the committees they agreed to form last time, and decide the mechanisms by which these committees work," Maliki's media adviser, Ali al-Moussawi, said.

The last time Barzani was in Baghdad was in 2010, during protracted negotiations that eventually produced the "Arbil agreement", under which a power-sharing central government was formed between Shi'ite Muslims, Sunnis and ethnic Kurds.

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