Iraqi premier vows commitment to strong Turkey ties
Iraq remains committed to continuing its cooperation in various areas with Turkey, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Jan. 9.
Speaking at a news conference in the capital Baghdad, al-Abadi said they would like to continue their relations in several areas, including border control, bilateral trade relations and oil shipments, especially from Mosul and Kirkuk.
He said ties between Turkey and Iraq were expanding and both countries remain in “big cooperation.”
The construction of an oil pipeline to Ceyhan port would be completed soon, he added.
Regarding the crisis with the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq, al-Abadi slammed the KRG for failing to comply with the Iraqi central government’s requirements.
He said Peshmerga forces must retreat to the border as it was before 2013 and hand over control of the border, customs gates and airports to the central governments.
Al-Abadi also said the KRG should be held responsible for the $7.5 billion revenue collected from customs and oil exports in 2017.
In the immediate wake of the KRG’s Sept. 25, 2017 referendum, federal forces moved into parts of Iraq “disputed” between the central government and the KRG, including the oil-rich Kirkuk province.
Baghdad, meanwhile, continues to demand the annulment of the referendum’s results.
The KRG now hopes to hold talks with the Iraqi government—under United Nations auspices and without preconditions—with the intention of resolving their outstanding differences.