17 April 2012 /TODAY’S ZAMAN
Massoud Barzani, president of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), will visit Turkey to speak with Turkish officials and Iraqi vice-president Tariq al-Hashemi, for whom the Shiite-led central government issued an arrest warrant in late 2011, as Baghdad’s ties with northern Iraq have strained over the issue.
Diplomatic sources confirmed that the visit will take place but did not give any details about the timeline of the visit. According to diplomatic sources from the Foreign Ministry, Barzani will talk with Turkish officials about recent political developments in Iraq. He will also talk with al-Hashemi, who already stated that he will return to Iraq and will not seek political asylum in neighboring countries. Hashemi went to Qatar in early April, leaving the country for the first time after the crisis broke out in December. After that he visited Saudi Arabia, which is uneasy with the Shiite-led government in Baghdad. Last week Hashemi came to Turkey seeking political support. He met with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and other officials to assess the situation in Iraq.
Tariq al-Hashemi is trying to bolster his case, that he remains a key member of Iraq’s government despite being a wanted man in Baghdad on charges of terrorism. The KRG refuses to hand over the fugitive vice president to the central government, despite calls from Baghdad.