Kurdistan Issues in Press Interviews- Mala Bakhtyar


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Sign the petition for Iraq's three-region solution May 17, 2008 Kurdistan Issues in Press Interviews- Mala Bakhtyar

Kurdishaspect.com - Translated by Dr Kamal Mirawdeli

Summary of Press Conference by Spokesperson of PUK political bureau Mala Bakhtyar

Translated from: (Kurdistan Raport, Arbil, daily independent newspaper in Sorani Kurdish, 15 May 08, P4.)

[Report: Summary of Press Conference by Spokesperson of PUK political bureau Mala Bakhtyar: "Mala Bakhtiyar: The PUK did not offer financial assistance to Nawshirwan in order to incite against us.”]

The first conference of [PUK-affiliated] Bureau of Democratic Organisations (BDO) ended on the evening of 11 May 2008. After the conference the head of BDO and Spokesperson of PUK political bureau Mala Bakhtyar held a press conference in which he talked about several issues. He explained at the beginning of the conference that he was talking on behalf of patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) political bureau and that his words could be taken as the official position of PUK on any important issue he would talk about. 

The meetings of KDP/PUK political bureaus and Mala Bakhtyar’s statements

About the meetings of the political bureaus of Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and PUK, the Spokesperson of PUK political bureau Mala Bakhtyar said: “The last meeting of PUK and KDP was good. There was understanding from both sides about announcing the formation of the new cabinet and we had similar positions about the elections in the governorates of Mosul , Diyala and Kirkuk . We have joint position to speed up our work in the next few months.” 

The formation of the new united cabinet

About the rumour that their meetings have failed to reach an agreement about the formation of Kurdistan region’s united government, Spokesperson of PUK political bureau said: “In fact we have not yet made a final decision about the announcement of a united government. This means that we had different opinions and approaches. It is healthy to have different views about a government that would be reduced from 40 ministers to 23 or 21 ministers.” He added that it was not easy to announce the formation of a new government: “It is not easy to decide how to allocate the important ministries to KDP, PUK and other parties. This in itself is a difficult issue to tackle. That is why we have still had further meetings. More than three months ago we proposed two  ‘columns’ of seven ministers for KDP and seven minsters for PUK, and gave KDP choice to select any column they wanted. They had discussed the proposal (the two columns) for a long time. Then they had made some changes especially in two ministries: the Ministry of Energy and Ministry of Finance. Now they accept the two-column solution after choosing the Ministry of Energy for KDP and Finance for PUK.

Strategic accord between PUK and KDP

About whether the current alliance between KDP and PUK would continue until the next elections and then whoever got more votes would form its own government, and whether this idea has been discussed in the meetings between the political bureaus of the two parties, Mala Bakhtyar said: “We as PUK are not worried about elections. But we have agreed with KDP comrades on a strategy to fight two terms of elections jointly as one list. For this reason we are now committed to this agreement. We discussed this again in our meeting and KDP political bureau asserted that their position has not changed.”

We have discussed everything

The Spokesperson of PUK political bureau Mala Bakhtyar made further comments about the recent meetings of PUK and KDP political bureaus. He said: “In our meetings we talked about every issue. I can say with great certainty that certain issues we discussed have not been reported by any newspapers. We put fingers on all wounds because there are perhaps many things that are known to us but are not known to the media. We can speak in figures. We have expressed our views and have not hidden anything. That is why we talk about all issues: the tasks of the government and the way the government is formed. 

Kurdistan Workers party (PKK) and Kurdistan Region

Replying to a question about Iranian attacks against Kurdish villages inside Kurdistan region and whether these attacks are made with the knowledge of Kurdistan Region officials, Mala Bakhtyar said: “ We are aware of these attacks and have expressed our concern about these attacks through a delegation we have sent Iran. Our position on these attacks is clear and known.”

On PKK claims that Turkey has used internationally-banned weapons in its attacks against their bases [in Qandil Mountain ], Mala Bakhtyar said: “No, there has not been such a thing. We have had no information about this.  It must be proved through laboratory tests that the weapons used were prohibited ones” .About the conflict between PKK and Turkey , he said:” I believe the conflict has not reached a level that requires the use of such weapons.” 

PUK concessions to KDP

About generally-held view among people that PUK has made concessions to KDP [in the meetings], Mala Bakhtyar said: “Yes, PUK has made concessions because PUK policy is flexible and democratic and aims at making the government of Kurdistan Region successful. We are always flexible and soft about national, administrative and government issues.”

The issue of Kirkuk , Article 140 and UN

About differences of approach to Kirkuk issue between KDP and PUK, Mala Bakhtyar said: "It is expected that in the next few days the Special Representative of the UN in Iraq Staffan de Mistura would present his proposals regarding the resolution of the Kirkuk issue. One of the proposals is to rely on the results of 2005 elections. What is reported by the MPs of the two parties is a preliminary idea according to which the status of some of the disputed areas would change.” He added: “We [KDP and PUK] have not yet discussed the issue of the governorate of Kirkuk and have not defined a position on this. We will talk about it when the issue comes up. About elections in Kirkuk Governorate we talked about it yesterday. We believe that the extension of Article 140 for further six months is important to decide whether there would be elections in Kirkuk or not. This is one of the issues we are arguing about. The six-month extension expired but Article 140 has not been implemented but we are not entitled to ask: why was it not implemented in these six months? But, on the other hand, you want to impose some articles on us while the article that is important for our future is not acted upon.”

Mala Bakhtyar added:” Staffan de Mistura’s proposals are not new. They have been around for three months. They gave it to us confidentially and we have discussed it although it is not in our interest to use 2005 elections’ results. Since then the population of the Kurds in all Arabised areas has increased. When there were elections in Khanaqin in 2005 the population of Khanaqin was about 70,000 people. Now it is over 110,000 people. It is the same in Kirkuk . Go to Kirkuk and you see several new neighbourhoods. But we [as Kurds] always choose to be part of solutions in Iraq while we know that we might lose some areas such as Haweja and Tala’far and Mandali. But these areas are historically part of Kurdistan region and they will stay as part of a political struggle between us and the Central Government. But in terms of administration if we could ensure [the incorporation of] Kirkuk , Khanaqin, Makhmur, Shangar (Sinjar) and Makhmur, this would be a great success for us.

PUK and Wisha Company of Nawshirwan Mustafa

About his position on [the role] of Wisha Company, the Spokesperson of PUK political bureau said: “My position on this company is the position of PUK; it is a position that has been discussed within the political bureau of PUK. When we, PUK political bureau and [his General Secretary] Mam [honorific] Jalal Talabani, offered financial assistance to [PUK’s former deputy leader] Kak [honorific] Nawshirwan Mustafa, it was for the purpose of setting up a centre for studies, not for publishing a daily paper and then establish a TV channel for political incitement; to become a private sector newspaper like the rest of privately-funded papers. He added: “PUK has made available biggest resources to Nawshirwan Mustafa for setting up a centre for studies and we will talk with him in the future to know whether he would continue to work the way he does now or would go back to the original aim of the project which is to set up an important centre for studies, something that he is capable of doing.”

Conference of ‘democratic’ organisations and power of political parties

About the conference of democratic organisations and the period allocated for the conference, Mala Bakhtyar said:” We did not come to interfere in the work of the organisations, to change their constitutions and programmes, to change their secretaries and branches officials, etc. This is not our job. We have convened this conference to discuss only the general professional, democratic, civil ad secular aims of these organisations.” About allocating only two days for such a conference, he said:” We have been discussing the conference for a year and for three months we have had intensive discussions about the issues and aims of the conference. As a result, all the issues were systematically addressed in the conference and there was full and satisfactory debates about them, More than 100 members and guests talked at the conference and all these have been recorded. Then the recommendations were approved by the meeting as a whole.”

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