Iraq’s PM says Kurds refraining from withdrawing their troops

Iraq’s PM says Kurds refraining from withdrawing their troops
Thu Nov 2, 2017 07:52:33

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has accused the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) of not remaining committed to an agreement on withdrawing their forces from disputed regions in the north of the country.

(presstv) -- On Wednesday, Abadi told reporters that the Kurds have “gone back on the accord" concerning the withdrawal of Peshmerga fighters from the disputed areas, notably a border post with Turkey.

"If they do not stick to it we will do what we want, and if our forces find themselves under fire, we will show them the strength of the law," he said.

On Tuesday, Iraqi government forces announced that they had taken control of the main land crossings with Turkey and the semi-autonomous Kurdish region. Later in the day, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim confirmed that the Iraqi government was in control of the strategic border crossing.

Following the announcement, the KRG claimed that they had not relinquished control of a key border crossing with Turkey and that negotiations were ongoing to allow Iraqi “oversight” at the border.

On October 12, an Iraqi government spokesman said Baghdad had set a series of conditions that the KRG needed to meet before any talks on the resolution of a referendum crisis could start.

The referendum on secession of the Kurdistan region was held on September 25 despite strong opposition from Iraqi authorities, the international community, and Iraq's neighboring countries, especially Turkey and Iran.

Also on Wednesday, Baghdad threatened to restart operations aimed at seizing the northern Kurdish-held territories after claims were made that the Kurds were refraining from relinquishing control of border regions with Turkey, Iran and Syria, Reuters reported.

The Iraqi Joint Operations Command said that the KRG was exploiting the situation in order to "buy time" to strengthen Kurdish ranks.

"During the negotiations, the (Kurdish) region was moving its forces and building new defenses," the command said in an official statement.

"We will not allow it; the federal forces are mandated to secure (the disputed) areas and borders," it added.

On Friday, Abadi declared a halt in an offensive that began last month to take over areas claimed both by the Iraqi government and the KRG.

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