First Published: 2012-11-21

 

Iraq parliament speaker seeks to contain Arab-Kurd conflict

 

Nujaifi launches ‘initiative aimed at bringing views between two sides closer in order to defuse crisis’.

 

Middle East Online

Self-appointed mediator

BAGHDAD - Iraqi parliament speaker Osama al-Nujaifi on Wednesday launched talks with political leaders in Baghdad and the autonomous Kurdish region to contain a crisis and avoid "civil war," his office said.

The initiative comes after Massud Barzani, the president of Iraqi Kurdistan, said Kurdish and Iraqi forces clashed in a disputed town last week and as both sides issued warnings and reportedly sent reinforcements to the area.

Nujaifi launched "an initiative aimed at bringing the views between the two sides closer in order to defuse the crisis, and spare the country" from "civil war," a statement from his office said.

The speaker began "a series of meetings with political leaders in Baghdad and Arbil to reach fundamental solutions to end the crisis and save the country from an internal crisis that could result in serious consequences," it said.

A subsequent statement said Nujaifi met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on Wednesday to discuss the crisis, and planned going Thursday to Arbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, for talks with Kurdish leaders.

Barzani has said that Kurdish security forces, known as peshmerga, clashed with Iraqi forces in the disputed town of Tuz Khurmatu on Friday, leaving one person dead and others wounded. An Iraqi general denied the peshmerga were involved.

Barzani, in a statement posted on his website, said he ordered the peshmerga "to exercise restraint in the face of provocations, but also to be in a highest state of readiness to face any aggressive acts."

Maliki's office later warned the peshmerga "not to change their positions or approach the (federal) armed forces."

Kurdish leaders want to the expand their autonomous region across a swathe of territory that stretches from Iraq's eastern border with Iran to its western frontier with Syria, against strong opposition by Maliki's government.

The unresolved row poses the biggest threat to Iraq's long-term stability, diplomats and officials say.

Relations between the two sides are also marred by disputes over oil and power-sharing.

US forces played a coordinating role between Kurdish and Arab forces in the disputed territory, forming joint patrols and checkpoints comprised of US soldiers, Iraqi troops, and peshmerga.

But US troops withdrew from Iraq last year, removing a buffer to Arab-Kurd tensions.

 

War-torn Syria gears towards 'cessation of hostilities'

Iraqi PM urges Kurdistan to drop any plans for independence

Erdogan threatens to send millions of refugees to EU

S.Sudan president names arch-rival his deputy

Berlin film fest competition kicks off with Arab film

Russia accuses US planes of hitting Aleppo

Anti-ISIS coalition looks to decisive new phase

Turkey, Israel open new normalisation talks

Assault on Aleppo displaces tens of thousands

Moroccan King inaugurates Aquaculture Farm in Oued Ed-dahab

Turkish forces end operation in southern town

NATO launches unprecedented Aegean migrant naval mission

Suspected PKK militants attack two Turkey pro-govt newspapers

Train derails in Egypt’s Bani Sueif province

Iranians mark 37 years since Islamic revolution

Moscow ready to discuss modalities of ceasefire in Syria

Egypt hires UK firm to review Sharm security

Tunisia makes $500 million from assets of ousted president

Turkey dismisses pressure to open borders as 'hypocritical'

Efforts to form Libya unity government stumble over defence portfolio

Iran blames failure of Syria peace talks on participation of ‘terrorists’

Syria opposition hopes for end of sieges

UAE names women state ministers in major government shake-up

French Foreign Minister steps down with criticism of US role in Syria

Germany hopes Syria talks in Munich will agree to provide aid

Syrian Kurdish separatists open Moscow representation

Jordan rejects France extradition request for 1982 terror attack suspects

Libya parliament extends deadline for formation of new unity government

Herzog wants Israel to begin separation from Palestinian areas

Khomeini grandson loses appeal against exclusion from Iran elections

Turkey, US split deepens over support for Syria Kurds

EU tells members to accelerate refugee relocation

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince in India: String of trade, security deals expected

Syria regime's Aleppo offensive kills more than 500

Ex-Israeli PM’s prison sentence extended

Turkey summons US envoy over Syria Kurds row

Unstable dam affecting Mosul recapture

Jihadist attacks bring Egypt's tourist industry to its knees

‘Hell’ falling on Aleppo

Enormous challenges emerge after full liberation of Ramadi

Hamas fighter dies in latest tunnel collapse

Aleppo siege spells trouble for the West

Egypt policeman jailed for beating vet to death

How many civilians are living under 'surrender or starve' sieges in Syria?

NATO to consider policing refugee crisis