The move could be seen as narrowing the differences between the parties as the debate has been whether or not the Kurdistan Region needs a mandate from the parliament to call the referendum.
The politburo offices of both the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), headed by Kurdistan Region’s President Masoud Barzani, and its ally the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), headed by Kosrat Rasul, met in Pirmam on Sunday.
The joint statement said the parties had discussed “the manner of reactivating the Kurdistan parliament in a way that serves the process of a referendum and independence, as well as national unity.”
The ruling KDP, which holds the posts of Kurdistan Region’s president and prime minister, had so far insisted that the long-anticipated referendum does not need a mandate from the Kurdish legislature, citing legal experts.
The PUK joined Gorran (Change Movement) is insistiting that a referendum needs a mandate from the Kurdistan parliament that has not convened since October 2015.
PUK and Gorran held a meeting on Saturday on the issue of independence.
In a joint statement issued after that meeting, they said that holding the referendum is the natural right of the Kurdistan nation and they support holding referendum in the so-called disputed areas, claimed by both Erbil and Baghdad.
However, they stressed, parliament must call the referendum.
Sunday’s meeting between the KDP and PUK is their third on the issue of the referendum in April, and the fourth in 2017.
On April 11, they met and decided to form a committee consisting of seven political parties, five major Kurdish parties, plus two seats reserved for the Turkmen and Christian minorities.
The committee has not been set up yet due to major political differences, especially between the KDP and Gorran.
About a year-and-a-half ago, security forces in Erbil, largely under the control of the KDP, blocked the speaker, a Gorran party member, from returning to the capital where the parliament is located.
Gorran along with the Islamic Union, and the Islamic Group (Komal) — all members of the Kurdish coalition government — say they are in favor of the referendum, but it must have a mandate from the parliament.
Should the PUK and KDP take practical steps to reactivate the parliament, it may help patch up some of the wounds the KDP and Gorran have inflicted on each other in the course of events that began in late 2015.
The Sunday meeting also discussed the ongoing financial crisis that has been ongoing in the Kurdistan Region since early 2014.
They also discussed a roadmap proposed by the PUK that connects the internal and external challenges faced by Kurdistan.
It said the road map, after being studied by the KDP, should be discussed widely and responded to.