Iraq gives ultimatum to Kurds to withdraw
BAGhdad - Agence France-Presse
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (C) is at odds on several issues with the Kurds. REUTERS photoIraq’s Interior Ministry issued June 5 a strongly-worded call for forces loyal to the northern Kurdish region to withdraw from several disputed areas, threatening a fragile peace after a spate of violence in April.
The unrest, spread over several days in multiple towns between central government forces and protesters, had prompted the army to withdraw from several key towns with the security void filled by Kurdish peshmerga forces that the Iraqi army subsequently accused of looking to take control of key oil fields. “The Interior Ministry calls for the brothers in charge of the security file in the KRG (Kurdistan Regional Government) to withdraw peshmerga forces from Suleiman Bek and Tuz Khurmatu districts, and Kirkuk province, because this area is under the authority of the central government,” a statement posted to the ministry’s website said.
The statement came days after the KRG President Masoud Barzani told Reuters in an interview that Iraqi Kurdistan will be forced to seek a “new form of relations” with the central government if the negotiations fail to resolve their disputes over oil and land. Baghdad has a long-standing disagreement with the KRG over control of oil and territory along their internal border.