Iraqi Kurdish forces to stay in control of Kirkuk

Kurdish forces to continue to occupy the oil-rich Iraqi city.

Iraqi Kurdish forces to stay in control of Kirkuk

World Bulletin / News Desk

Peshmerga forces' "self-rule" in the oil-rich Iraqi city of Kirkuk is to continue, President Massoud Barzani of the Kurdish Regional Government has said.

His comments Friday came more than two weeks after Kurdish peshmerga troops took control of Kirkuk after the Iraqi army left the city when Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) rebels, backed by tribal fighters, seized Iraq's second-largest city Mosul and headed for the city.

Speaking at a joint press conference with U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague in Irbil, Barzani said the KRG had waited for 10 years for the federal government to solve the problems in the region, adding: "Now, this is achieved."

Barzani was referring to a referendum authorized by the country's 2005 constitution to determine the final status of the oil-rich city and several other towns contested by both the Kurdish regional rule and the central government. The referendum was never held.

William Hague said he and Barzani had discussed the growing crisis the country faced from the ISIL.

"I found in Baghdad a strong consciousness of the need for a new and inclusive government that creates a stronger sense of partnership between Shias and Sunnis and Kurds," Hague said, adding it was not for the U.K. or any other country to say who should be the prime minister of Iraq.

"We want to see a government formed in which people from all across the country feel they have a genuine stake and representation," he added.

Hague's comments came a day after he met Nouri al-Maliki, the long-term prime minister of Iraq's Shia-led central government, Saleh al-Mutlaq, the deputy prime minister, and senior Iraqi officials.

Around one million civilians have been displaced amid ongoing clashes in the country, according to the United Nations.

Iraq's Kurds mull secession amid political crisis

Any decision from the Kurdish regional administration in northern Iraq regarding independence will be based on the next Iraqi government's inclusiveness, Erbil's high representative to the U.K. said Friday.

Sami Abdul Rahman told the Anadolu Agency that there was an "enormous public pressure" on the government in Erbil to declare independence.

"If the next Iraqi government is truly inclusive as we hope, then Iraq has a bright future. If not, I don't see how Iraq can continue," Rahman said.

She also dismissed some media reports that there was a secret agreement between the Kurdish administration's defense forces - Peshmergas - and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL.

"This is a terrorist organization and we have been clear that we will always stand against terrorism. In some of the areas where Peshmergas are facing ISIL, they spoke to Sunni tribes, not the [ISIL]," she said.

The high representative said that the Kurdish government's warnings to Baghdad over a potential attack against the city of Mosul were ignored by the central government.

"The response from Baghdad was, 'No, everything is under control'," she said.

Last Mod: 28 Haziran 2014, 09:27
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