Iraq denies U.S. pressures to return Kurdish forces to disputed regions

Peshmerga forces. File photo.

Baghdad ( Iraq denied on Saturday reports that it was under pressures from the United States to allow the return of Kurdish forces to areas disputed by Baghdad and Kurdistan Region.

A statement by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s spokesperson, Saad al-Hadithi, reported by The New Arab, said that “The issue of the deployment of Iraqi forces in the northern and western territories is part of the responsibility of the government in Baghdad”. He added that the matter is “a sovereign, independent decision that is not subject to the will of foreign powers”.

He noted, however, that “coordination to counter dangers at the disputed regions is ongoing”.

Kurdistan’s Peshmerga Ministry also denied on Thursday news of the return of its troops to the disputed regions, stressing refusal of shadow agreements in that regard.

News reports quoted Pentagon sources on Wednesday saying that special forces of Peshmerga had entered Kirkuk, after coordination with Baghdad.

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 seized back areas disputed on with Erbil following the Kurdistan Region’s vote for independence September 25.

Iraqi PM Abadi had earlier called for joint administration of those regions.

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