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 Iraqi Kurdistan: Contradictory views on PUK-Gorran parties' relations

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Iraqi Kurdistan: Contradictory views on PUK-Gorran parties' relations  14.6.2012 






Barham Salih (L), a senior leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and Nawshirwan Mustafa, the head of the Change Movement (Gorran).
June 14, 2012

SULAIMANIYAH, Kurdistan region 'Iraq', — Following a recent meeting between Barham Salih, a senior leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and Nawshirwan Mustafa, the head of the Change Movement (Gorran), PUK officials believe their party is on the course to normalize relations with Gorran.

But a senior Gorran official told Rudaw on condition of anonymity, that meetings between his party and the PUK does not mean they are on the path to normalized relations. “What would normalize relations is fixing the ruined system, which we are asking to change.”

Dr. Shaho Saeed, Gorran’s spokesperson says, “Dr. Salih’s visit to Nawshirwan Mustafa was personal. It was not an official visit from the PUK to Gorran.”

The first high-level meeting between PUK and Gorran was in March 2010 when Hero Ibrahim Ahmed, the head of PUK headquarters in Sulaimaniyah and wife of Jalal Talabani, visited Nawshirwan Mustafa. Since then the two parties have met on several occasions.

On PUK’s 37th anniversary, Talabani, the party’s secretary general, delivered a speech where he addressed past relations between his party and Gorran. Observers interpreted Talabani’s speech as an opening towards Gorran. But, Jamal Muhammad, a senior Gorran official,www.ekurd.net says, “our response is that we thank Talabani for mentioning some of the facts, and nothing more.”

A source from within Gorran says that Salih has been trying to meet with Nawshirwan Mustafa since last year’s February 17 demonstrations when Salih was prime minister but that Mustafa had declined to meet with him.

According to the same source, Salih and Mustafa have discussed amending several laws, including the demonstration law, Kurdistan’s constitution and the law of the Kurdistan National Security.

“We still have a lot to work on in order to normalize relations,” says Jamal Muhammad, a Gorran official with the Committee for Normalizing Relations.

Aso Mamand, a member of PUK political bureau, believes the process of normalizing relations between the PUK and Gorran has reached a satisfactory level, “Our meetings will continue and the demands [of Gorran] will be met.”

Muhammad, however, disagrees. “What has been done so far cannot be called a step towards normalization. There is still much more to be done in this regard.”

The PUK, Mamand says, has answered Gorran’s demands for reform, the amendment of several laws and re-employment of Gorran members fired from their jobs for their political affiliation, and that the rest falls with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). “Some of the demands can be realized by the government; we are waiting for the government to take action in that regard.”

Saeed, Gorran’s spokesperson says, “Gorran is insistent on its proposals. If there is a desire to normalize relations, the only way to do so is to carry out reforms.”

By Nawzad Mahmoud

Copyright ©, respective author or news agency, rudaw.net 

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