The US Embassy sponsored yesterday the first session of direct negotiations between Al-Hadba bloc that has an Arab majority and the Ninawah Fraternity bloc that has a Kurdish majority which boycotted the Mosul-based Ninawah Governorate Council's tasks since April.
The negotiations are aimed at achieving rapprochement between the two sides and forming a joint administration for the governorate which has been suffering from a real administrative crisis since the elections of the governorates' councils in January in which Al-Hadba List won 19 out of37 seats and got most of the sovereign posts in the local government after excluding the Ninawah List.
Khisru Kuran, leader of the Ninawah List which won 12 seats in the council, said: "We welcome any meeting with Al-Hadba even if it was just a matter of courtesy, such as a joint fast breaking dinner, so as to break the ice in the two sides' relations." He added in an exclusive statement to Asharq Al-Awsat at the end of the meeting between the two sides' representatives: "We held a meeting which was attended by two members from Al-Hadba and Ninawah Lists, a member of the Iraqi Islamic Party, and several American friends. The session was dedicated to an exchange of views about the reasons of the estrangement between us and a discussion of the current situations in the governorate in general."
Kuran, who is also in charge of the Ninawah branch of the Kurdistan Democratic Party's organizations which is led by Kurdistan Region President Masud Barzani, added: "We were never opposed to dialogue and negotiations for solving problems. Our doors were and remain open and our hands extended for peace because we want what is good for this governorate. But we believe that the problems in the new Iraq cannot be solved except through rational dialogue, common understanding, and political accord."
Regarding his bloc's threats to split Ninawah Governorate into two, one following Baghdad and the other the Kurdistan Region, if the situations remained as they are now, Kuran said: "The governorate is already actually split. There are 16 administrative units like districts and sub districts which have been boycotting for months the orders, instructions, and sessions of the new administration in Ninawah. This is in itself a split in the governorate's administrative structure but we are seriously seeking to solve the existing problems so as to avoid perpetuating this split." He added: "There is no doubt that if the efforts and negotiations sessions bring positive results then the causes for the split or division taking place will disappear and the opposite is true also."