• Sunday, Oct 17, 2021
  • Last Update : 06:43 pm

Kurdistan conference pushes Iraq-Israel normalisation

  • Published at 02:00 pm September 25th, 2021
Iraq-Israel
Representational photo

The United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan last year agreed to normalise ties with Israel in a US-sponsored process dubbed the Abraham Accords

More than 300 Iraqis, including tribal leaders, called for a normalisation of ties with Israel at a conference in autonomous Kurdistan organised by a US think-tank, drawing a chorus of condemnation Saturday from Baghdad.

The first initiative of its kind in Iraq, a historic foe of Israel and where its sworn enemy Iran has a strong influence, the conference was held Friday.

The organisers, the New York-based Center for Peace Communications (CPC), advocates for normalising relations between Israel and Arab countries, alongside working to establish ties between civil society organisations.  

Iraqi Kurdistan maintains cordial contacts with Israel, but the federal government in Baghdad, which has fought in Arab-Israeli wars, does not have diplomatic ties with the Jewish state.

Four Arab nations -- the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan -- last year agreed to normalise ties with Israel in a US-sponsored process dubbed the Abraham Accords.  

"We demand our integration into the Abraham Accords," said Sahar al-Tai, one of the attendees, reading a closing statement in a conference room at a hotel in the Kurdish regional capital Arbil. 

"Just as these agreements provide for diplomatic relations between the signatories and Israel, we also want normal relations with Israel," she said.

"No force, local or foreign, has the right to prevent this call," added Tai, head of research at the Iraqi federal government's culture ministry.

However, Iraq's federal government rejected the conference's call for normalisation in a statement on Saturday and dismissed the gathering as an "illegal meeting".

'Traitors'

The conference "was not representative of the population's (opinion) and that of residents in Iraqi cities, in whose name these individuals purported to speak," the statement said.

The office of Iraq's President Barham Saleh, himself a Kurd, joined in the condemnation.

Powerful Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr urged the government to "arrest all the participants", while Ahmed Assadi, an MP with the ex-paramilitary group Hashed al-Shaabi, branded them "traitors in the eyes of the law".

The 300 participants at the conference came from across Iraq, according to CPC founder Joseph Braude, a US citizen of Iraqi Jewish origin. 

They included Sunni and Shia representatives from "six governorates: Baghdad, Mosul, Salaheddin, Al-Anbar, Diyala and Babylon," extending to tribal chiefs and "intellectuals and writers", he told AFP by phone.

Other speakers at the conference included Chemi Peres, the head of an Israeli foundation established by his father, the late president Shimon Peres. 

"Normalisation with Israel is now a necessity," said Sheikh Rissan al-Halboussi, an attendee from Anbar province, citing the examples of Morocco and the UAE.

Kurdish Iraqi leaders have repeatedly visited Israel over the decades and local politicians have openly demanded Iraq normalise ties with the Jewish state, which itself backed a 2017 independence referendum in the autonomous region.    



50
Facebook 50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail