Kurdistan Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani said during a press conference on December 21, that the Kurdistan Region Government (KRG) knows that there are “hands” behind the ongoing protests against it. The Kurdish PM also vowed to put an end what he called the “chaos”.
“We know there is incitement. We know there are people who support it so there will be more riots in the Kurdistan Region … Protesting is the just right of everyone, but the course [of the protests] has changed from making demands to burning offices and making problems. As the KRG, we have the legal duty to limit this chaos; the KRG is serious about containing the chaos and to put an end to it,” Nechirvan said during the press conference in the city of Erbil, according to the Kurdish Rudaw TV.
Nechirvan also announced that the KRG is now ready to work with the Iraqi Federal Government to form a joint administration at border crossings and airports in the Kurdistan Region. He urged Baghdad to lift the ban imposed on Kurdistan’s airports. The announcement was seen by many observers as a direct result of the current pressure on the KRG.
“The Kurdistan Region is fully prepared from this day to form that joint administration at the airports, the border crossings, and solve that problem, according to the Iraqi constitution,” Nechirvan said.
Regarding the Movement for Change (Gorran), and the Kurdistan Islamic Group (Komal) decision to withdraw their ministers from the KRG, Nechirvan said that the KRG “can’t force unity on anyone.” However, the Kurdish PM said that he respects the Gorran and Komal decision, although he was not personally informed of it.
“I believe that they should have called for a meeting of the Kurdistan Regional Government to explain their reasons for their withdrawal … We respect their decision. But given the fact that we are asking for elections three months from now, we do not indeed see there exists any justification,” Nechirvan said.
The Nechirvan statement is a clear attempt to calm down the tense situation in the Kurdistan Region as the protests continue for the fourth day in a row. Kurdish activists reported on December 21, that 5 protestors had been killed, and 200 other were injured by the KRG’s security forces.