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Iraq president calls on Kurdish officials to respond to protesters’ demands

December 9, 2020 at 12:13 pm

Iraqi President Barham Salih in Baghdad, Iraq on 2 September 2020 [Murtadha Al-Sudani/Anadolu Agency]

Iraqi President Barham Salih yesterday called on the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) of northern Iraq to listen to protesters’ legitimate demands and refrain from resorting to violence, the Iraqi News Agency (INA) reported.

“We are following with great concern the developments in the city of Sulaymaniyah including demonstrations, popular protests and the accompanying acts of violence, which led to the injury of a number of citizens and security forces,” Salih said in a statement, adding that  peaceful protest is a guaranteed constitutional right that must be respected.

The Iraqi president called on Kurdish authorities to work on “finding solutions to the problem of salaries and improving living conditions through rapid and serious steps and by channelling people’s resources to serve the citizens, and adopting real reform”, adding that “abuse of public money and administrative and financial corruption, looting and smuggling must stop.”

He also called on the Kurdish security forces to act according to the law and refrain from using violence, and to allow the media to freely exercise its work without restriction or aggression.

“The best way for the regional government to solve the financial crisis that afflicts it is to work on reaching a comprehensive agreement with the federal government regarding salaries and the region’s entitlements in order to provide a decent life for citizens,” he added.

This comes after hundreds of protesters set fire to the headquarters of the two ruling parties, the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, in Sulaymaniyah to protest against the deteriorating economic conditions and delayed payment of salaries.

READ: Hundreds of Iraq civil servants protest delayed salaries