Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has valued he contribution of Iraqi Kurdistan Region’s forces (Peshmerga) in the country’s fight against Islamic State militants, a few days after the region decried Baghdad’s unrecognition.
“Peshmerga is part of our forces, and we have greeted them as we did other troops,” Abadi said in a speech on the sidelines of a world summit on climate change in Paris late Tuesday, which was published by his media office.
“Peshmerga have fought alongside the Iraqi army and the rest of our troops to liberate Mosul, and some wanted to separate the Peshmerga and the Iraqi army through the referendum and by playing them off against the army,” Abadi said.
“Yet, we have said that Peshmerga are part of the Iraqi people and we should cooperate with them,” the prime minister added.
Abadi was referring to a referendum Kurdistan Region held in September in which a majority voted for independence from Iraq, a measure which Baghdad deemed unconstitutional and ignited a political war and a later military confrontation which ended with Iraqi troops retaking Peshmerga-held areas disputed with Kurdistan.
Making a speech on Saturday celebrating victory in the three-year war against Islamic State militants in Iraq, Abadi seemed to fail to mention Peshmerga by name among the victorious troops, an incident strongly condemned by Kurdish politicians.
A spokesman of Abadi later attributed the incident to a typing error.