Iraqi forces, Kur­dish Pesh­merga start new round of talks

Iran Daily - - Front Page -

Iraqi forces and Kur­dish Pesh­merga fight­ers on Sun­day started a se­cond round of talks to re­solve a con­flict over con­trol of the Kur­dis­tan re­gion’s border cross­ings, Iraqi state TV said.

Iraqi Prime Min­is­ter Haider al-abadi on Fri­day or­dered a 24-hour sus­pen­sion of mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions against Kur­dish forces in north­ern Iraq.

The two sides held a first round of talks on Fri­day and Satur­day, Reuters wrote.

Abadi said the talks are meant to pre­pare for the peace­ful de­ploy­ment of Iraqi troops at the border cross­ings with Turkey, Iran and Syria in Iraq’s Kur­dis­tan re­gion.

Clashes broke out be­tween the two sides af­ter Iraqi forces cap­tured the oil-rich city of Kirkuk from the Pesh­merga, in a sur­prise of­fen­sive or­dered by Abadi af­ter the Kurds held a se­ces­sion ref­er­en­dum in north­ern Iraq on Septem­ber 25.

Kirkuk is part of so-called dis­puted ar­eas, claimed by both the Iraqi cen­tral govern­ment and the Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Govern­ment (KRG) in north­ern Iraq.

“The se­cond round of talks about de­ploy­ing fed­eral troops in the dis­puted ar­eas has started,” state TV said, giv­ing no fur­ther de­tails.

Abadi wants to take con­trol of the dis­puted ar­eas and the border cross­ings, in­clud­ing one in the Fish-khabur area through which an oil ex­port pipe­line crosses into Turkey, car­ry­ing Iraqi and Kur­dish crude oil.

The KRG on Wed­nes­day pro­posed an im­me­di­ate cease-fire, a sus­pen­sion of the ref­er­en­dum re­sult and “start­ing an open di­a­logue with the fed­eral govern­ment based on the Iraqi Con­sti­tu­tion” — a call re­jected by Bagh­dad.

The mul­ti­eth­nic city of Kirkuk, which lies out­side the KRG’S of­fi­cial bound­aries, was taken by Iraqi forces with­out much re­sis­tance on Oc­to­ber 16. But the Pesh­merga be­gan to fight back as they with­drew closer to the core of the Kur­dish re­gion.

Barzani to step down

KRG leader Ma­soud Barzani told a closed-door ses­sion of par­lia­ment Sun­day he was step­ping down amid the fall­out from the se­ces­sion vote.

“Af­ter Novem­ber 1, I will no longer ex­er­cise my func­tions, and I re­ject any ex­ten­sion of my man­date,” the 71-year-old said in a let­ter read out to par­lia­ment in the Kur­dish cap­i­tal Er­bil, ac­cord­ing to AFP.

Sun­day’s par­lia­men­tary ses­sion was held be­hind closed doors be­cause of “sen­si­tive ques­tions” that would be dis­cussed, deputies said ear­lier.

REUTERS

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