[BAGHDAD, Iraq. November 01, 2017] – Quietly and with little fanfare, high-level political discussions between the Provisional Government of Ezidikhan and the Federal Government of Iraq have been steadily progressing in Baghdad, even as public attention has focused upon the high-stakes drama between the Kurdistan Regional Government and the Federal Government of Iraq that has been playing out publicly in the political arena.
Prime Minister Waheed Mandoo began talks between his Provisional Government of Ezidikhan and the Federal Government of Iraq on 2 September in Baghdad to enter into dialogue about rebuilding Ezidikhan following devastating assaults by Daesh, Turkey and Kurdish forces that have left more than 300,000 internally displaced as refugees.
The Ezidikhan/Iraqi talks to date have focused on reconstruction funding, establishing formal political relations and whether Ezidikhan would remain as an integral part of Iraq.
Prime Minister Mandoo emphasizes that “the Government of Ezidikhan recognizes Iraq’s concerns about loyalty to the Iraqi government.” Ezidikhan too values its stake in the political and territorial integrity of Iraq, in other words.
“Our government has called on Iraqi leaders firstly to agree to a Memorandum of Understanding that holds all parties to enter in good faith into negotiations of a treaty that will define the relationship between Ezidikhan and Iraq. First steps first.”
Iraqi Prime Minister al-Abadi and Prime Minister Waheed Mandoo agreed to meet on 11 September to sign the MOU, but Iraqi concerns over the impending 25 September Kurdish Referendum on independence delayed meetings until 1 October. Again Iraq delayed further talks and after brief intervening meetings Iraq and Ezidkhan met in Baghdad on 30 October.
After four rounds of talks, Prime Minister Waheed Mandoo and Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi have agreed in principal to sign a joint Memorandum of Understanding between the governments that will set the stage for opening negotiations of a treaty convened in accord with principles set out by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Prime Minister Mandoo revealed that “we understand that the Iraqi government wishes to work with Ezidikhan to seek justice for genocidal acts against Yezidi at the International Criminal Court. However, we also note that Iraq is not a party to the 2002 Rome Statute establishing the Court.”
“Ezidikhan will develop the case against all perpetrators of genocide. We will consider inviting investigations into crimes against the Shia community in Iraq as well. A Tribunal on Yezidi Genocide will consider all possible defendants for prosecution no matter from what country they originate.”