Barzani, Abadi talk for first time after declaring referendum

The Kurdish President Masoud Barzani has talked with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi for the first time after declaring the Kurdistan independence referendum in the fall, Rudaw reported on Sunday.

They discussed the ongoing battle for Mosul and Iraq’s internal issues.

Barzani and the Iraqi prime minister “discussed the overall political, security and economic situation in the country,” read a statement from the office of the Iraqi PM regarding their telephone call.

This marks the first time the two leaders have talked to each other after the Kurdish government declared that they would hold the referendum on September 25, a move that Baghdad has described as unilateral, that the whole nation should have their say over the future of Iraq, and that no party can determine their future in isolation of other parties.

The statement did not mention whether or not the two leaders discussed the referendum.

Barzani held a meeting with political parties in the Kurdistan Region on Wednesday, when it was announced the Kurdistan Region would hold a referendum on September 25 that would also include "the Kurdistani areas outside the region's administration", a term Erbil uses for the disputed areas that are claimed both by Baghdad and Erbil. It is to be followed by parliamentary and presidential elections on November 6.

Since the launch of the battle for Mosul last October, Barzani and Abadi have met a few times. The last meeting between the two leaders was in Erbil in early March where they had also emphasized continued ground cooperation between the Peshmerga and Iraqi army against ISIS especially in Nineveh Governorate.