Iraq denies talks with Kurdistan over Peshmerga redeployment in disputed areas

Kurdish Peshmerga forces.

Baghdad ( – The Iraqi government denied on Wednesday holding talks with the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region to allow Peshmerga redeployment in disputed areas between Baghdad and Erbil.

Speaking to Alquds Alarabi newspaper, Saad al-Hadithi, a spokesman for Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, stressed that the federal government in Baghdad “hasn’t yet taken a decision or agreed with Peshmerga forces to deploy them again in the disputed areas, which were taken over by Iraqi troops last October.”

“The redeployment decision can only be taken by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi,” the spokesman pointed out.

Last week, the Kurdish Peshmerga Ministry denied news on return of the troops to the disputed regions, stressing refusal of side agreements that take place in this regard without involving it.

Iraqi forces took over several Kurdish areas in mid October in response to a referendum Kurdistan Region held in September for independence from Iraq.

Kurds voted overwhelmingly to break away from Iraq in a referendum held on Sept. 25, defying the central government in Baghdad as well as neighboring Turkey and Iran who have their own Kurdish minorities.

The disputed regions have been one of the main conflict issues between Baghdad and Erbil for 14 years. Those regions extend for around 37 square kilometers.

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