As the financial disputes between Erbil and Baghdad have remained unresolved for nearly a decade now, the Kurdistan Region blames the latter for failing to effectively implement the principles of federalism as articulated in the Constitution.
In a recent comment on the matter, Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani suggested that Iraq is only constitutionally a federal country, as reality has proven it to operate under a centralized governance system.
"This is the core issue," Barzani emphasized while discussing the prolonged disputes during a panel he attended at the Middle East Research Center (MERI) Forum in Erbil.
He further elaborated that Erbil is ready for an amendment to the Constitution if Baghdad believes this is the prerequisite for resolving the differences with Erbil and, ultimately, developing Iraq into a true federal country.
"If a constitutional amendment is needed, let us sit together with Baghdad and amend it," he said. "During a meeting I had with the German chancellor, the only thing I asked the top official for was to help us implement federalism."
The Kurdistan Region repeatedly raises concerns about its rights and entitlements in accordance with Iraq's 2005 Constitution. According to Erbil, Baghdad has violated at least 55 constitutional articles related to the Kurdistan Region.
Responding to a question from the audience about a recent security agreement between Iraq and Iran, Barzani reaffirmed the Kurdistan Region's commitment to the deal.
The Security Agreement requires Iraq and the Kurdistan Region to remove the Iranian Kurdish forces from the border areas and prevent them from any attacks against Iran. Tehran recently expressed its satisfaction with the commitment of Erbil and Baghdad to the deal.
"The Iranian-Kurdish armed groups also respect the Kurdistan Region's position," the Kurdish leader stressed.
When asked about the possibility of a similar agreement with Turkey, Barzani pointed out the differences in the cases. He explained that Turkish opposition armed groups, mainly the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), do not respect the Kurdistan Region and its government institutions, making any such agreement particularly difficult.