Abadi Urges ‘Joint Administration’ Of Kirkuk under Baghdad's Authority
Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Tuesday (October 3) called for a "joint administration" of Kirkuk and other areas claimed by both his government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), provided that Baghdad has ultimate authority in such an arrangement.
Abadi's proposal, made at a news conference in Baghdad according to state TV, aims mainly at settling the dispute over the multi-ethnic, oil-rich region of Kirkuk.
"We had previously called on the [Kurdish] region to administer these (disputed) areas jointly on the condition that it should be under the authority of the federal government, but there was no response to our calls. Now I sincerely urge them [the Kurdish region] to do that. Taking areas by force, occupying areas by force and preventing people from returning to them and imposing a status quo by force and threats are unacceptable,” Abadi said.
Kurdish Peshmerga fighters took control of Kirkuk in 2014, when Iraqi forces collapsed in the face of the Islamic State's advance across northern Iraq.
Kirkuk, populated by Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen, Christians and other minorities, is one of 15 ethnically mixed areas in northern Iraq that participated in the Kurdistan independence referendum. The areas are claimed by both the central government in Baghdad and the KRG.
The Iraqi Parliament on September 27 asked Abadi to deploy troops to Kirkuk and the disputed areas after the Kurdistan Region held the referendum in the city.