More than 300 Iraqis, including tribal leaders, called for a normalisation of ties with Israel at a conference in autonomous Kurdistan organised by a US think-tank, drawing a chorus of condemnation Saturday from Baghdad. The first initiative of its kind in Iraq, a historic foe of Israel and where its sworn enemy Iran has a strong influence, the conference was held Friday. The organisers, the New York-based Center for Peace Communications (CPC), advocates for normalising relations between Israel and Arab countries, alongside working to establish ties between civil society organisations.
Iraqi Kurdistan maintains cordial contacts with Israel, but the federal government in Baghdad, which has fought in Arab-Israeli wars, does not have diplomatic ties with the Jewish state. Four Arab nations — the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan — last year agreed to normalise ties with Israel in a US-sponsored process dubbed the Abraham Accords. “We demand our integration into the Abraham Accords,” said Sahar al-Tai, one of the attendees, reading a closing statement in a conference room at a hotel in the Kurdish regional capital Arbil. “Just as these agreements provide for diplomatic relations between the signatories and Israel, we also want normal relations with Israel,” she said.
“No force, local or foreign, has the right to prevent this call,” added Tai, head of research at the Iraqi federal government’s culture ministry. However, Iraq’s federal government rejected the conference’s call for normalisation in a statement on Saturday and dismissed the gathering as an “illegal meeting”.- ‘Traitors’.
Source : France 24