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Iraqi President Says Baghdad-Erbil Relations “Were Back to Normal”

Iraqi President Fuad Masum has stressed that both Baghdad and Erbil are now on good terms following a few months of conflict over a referendum Kurdistan Region held last September for independence from Iraq.

In an interview with the London-based al-Hayat newspaper, Masum said there were “calm and unannounced talks between Baghdad and Erbil” over the past period to solve pending issues, stressing that ties between the Federal and Kurdish governments “were back to normal”, Iraqi News reported.

“The two sides [referring to Baghdad and Erbil] need each other and none of them can get along without the other,” Masum said, stressing that both governments are based in the same country and have the same interests.

He also hailed as a “good step” a decision recently taken by the federal government to send salaries to Kurdish employees working in the health and education sectors.

Kurds voted overwhelmingly to break away from Iraq in a referendum held on Sept. 25, defying the central government in Baghdad as well as neighboring Turkey and Iran who have their own Kurdish minorities.

In November, the Supreme Federal Court in Iraq issued a verdict considering Kurdistan’s independence referendum “unconstitutional” and cancelled all results of the controversial vote, which sparked outrage between Baghdad and Erbil. Source