Defense Ministry, Peshmerga, U.S. officials meet on forming joint task force at disputed regions: Official

Peshmerga forces. File photo.

Erbil ( Kurdistan Region’s Government’s Peshmerga Ministry has announced holding a round of meetings along with the federal Defense Ministry in attendance of U.S. officials representing the International Coalition over formation of a joint task force at the regions, where sovereignty is disputed on between Baghdad and Erbil.

“The international coalition has been seeking for forming a joint task force and checkpoints at the disputed regions in order to preserve safety, stability and protect civilians,” Maj. Gen.Qaraman Sheikh Kamal, deputy chief of staff of operations at the Peshmerga Ministry, was quoted by Kurdistan News channel on Monday.

Forming a task force, according to Kamal, “is a demand by the U.S.-Coalition and the people at those regions so Peshmerga troops can return back to these areas.”

“Several meetings were held between the Peshmerga and the Defense Ministry under supervision of the Coalition,” Kamal said indicating serious efforts toward forming the task force.

In March, Mazahim al-Howeit, spokesperson for the Arab tribes in Nineveh, was quoted by Radio Sawa website as saying a delegation from U.S. is expected to visit each of Baghdad and Erbil to agree on the redeployment of the Kurdish Peshmerga troops in disputed regions.

Iraqi government forces approached the southern borders of Erbil, capital of semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region, after taking over Kirkuk province from Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in October, fulfilling instructions made by the Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi to retake areas where sovereignty is disputed with Kurdistan.

Baghdad had declared intentions to retake areas disputed on with Erbil following the Kurdistan Region’s vote for ts independence referendum on September 25, from Iraq, urging Peshmerga to cooperate with federal troops.

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