Leader of Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government Massoud Barzani has visited the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, for the first time in two years.
Barzani’s visit is aimed at resolving long-term disputes and tensions over land and oil between Iraq’s central government and the Kurdish region.
The Sunday visit comes a month after Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki made a trip to Kurdistan.
“We discussed disputes and agreed to work on passing frozen laws in the parliament, especially the oil and gas law,” Maliki said during a joint press conference.
“We agreed to cooperate and work together and to face everything that threatens Iraq and the region, and we consider this a national duty,” said Barzani.
A senior Kurd official also stated that the two leaders have discussed Iraq’s worsening security situation, the administration of territories both sides claim power over, and a national hydrocarbons law that has been in limbo for years.
Last week, the Kurdish parliament approved delaying presidential election due in September, keeping Barzani in office for another two years.
Kurdistan has been an autonomous part of Iraq since 1991. Baghdad and the Kurdistan region have been at odds over a number of issues, including oil production and land.
The Kurds are determined to maintain their autonomy and develop their own oil resources. They have signed contracts on their own terms over the past years, causing resentment in Iraq’s central government.
Baghdad and the Kurdistan region also lay claim to a tract of land that stretches from Iraq’s eastern border with Iran to its western frontier with Syria.