Saudi’s Arab Gulf Affairs Minister Thamer al-Sabhan (L) in a meeting with Masoud Barzani, president of the Kurdistan Region in Erbil. Image Credit: Source: KRP Kurdish Regional Presidency

Dubai: Saudi Arabia has offered to mediate between the Kurdish regional government and Baghdad amid rising tensions over a planned Kurdish referendum for independence from Iraq.

Riyadhs’s Arab Gulf Affairs minister, Thamer Al Sabhan, met with Kurdish President Masoud Barzani on Saturday urging dialogue between Arbil and Baghdad.

Al Sabhan, the former Saudi’s ambassador to Iraq, also conveyed greetings from Saudi’s King Salman to the role of the Kurdistan Peshmerga forces and Kurdish people, the KRP announcement added.

On his part, Barzani emphasised the significance of the historical relations between Arbil and Riyadh.

Kurds have been met with increasing global pressure to hold off on the referendum, widely rejected by Iraq, Turkey and Iran who have significant Kurdish populations.

The Kurdish people are considered as the largest ethnic group in the world without a state.