Abadi says no change on withdrawal arrangements with Kurdistan

Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani and Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani and Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

Baghdad – ( No changes have occurred to the Iraqi Government’s agreement with Kurdistan over the withdrawal of the latter’s forces from the disputed regions recaptured from Islamic State militants, according to a government statement.

The agreement between the central government and the Kurdistan Region regarding the liberation of Nineveh remains unchanged, said a statement released on Thursday by the office of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

The statement comes after controversial remarks made by Kurdish President Masud Barzani in the town of Bashiqa during a visit to Peshmerga forces. Barzani stated that his country agreed with the United States that his country’s forces do not withdraw from the regions they had seized from the Islamic State. His statements came one day after US ambassador to Iraq, Douglas Silliman, was quoted as saying during a visit to Kurdistan that he was confident Peshmerga were going to pull out.

The Iraqi government had agreed with Kurdistan to let the latter join efforts to liberate Iraq from ISIS in return for reaching a future understanding over disputed regions. But as Peshmerga managed to recapture many of the controversial territories, several Kurdish officials and politicians were quoted as saying that their country was not going to cede its territories.

“Peshmerga have already withdrawn from some of the liberated areas based on the agreement,” said the statement by the Prime Minister’s office. “The agreement includes a clear provision on the withdrawal of Peshmerga troops from the liberated areas, after freeing Mosul, back to their earlier locations which they held before the operations were launched,” read the statement, adding that the affiliation of the areas in question is bound by the constitution.

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