US State Department urges Kurdish parties to work for united Iraq

US State Department urges Kurdish parties to work for united Iraq

"Negotiations are still ongoing", said a Kurdish official in the capital of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region, Erbil. The city was retaken by Iraqi forces earlier this month.

They were to raise the Iraqi national flag and take down the flag of the Kurdish regional government (KRG), which had until now controlled the crossing. Discussions were ongoing to allow Iraqi "oversight" at the border, Hoshyar Zebari, a former Iraqi foreign minister now working as an adviser to the KRG, told Reuters.

The balance of power between Iraqi central government forces and the autonomous Kurdish region has been transformed since the Kurds staged their referendum on September 25.

Within two days of the referendum Iraqi forces took over territory that had been held by the Kurds, including Kirkuk. Abadi has won backing from both Tehran and Ankara for his moves against the Kurds.

"I want to pay tribute to [President] Barzani's leadership in that fight [against IS], to his years of service to the [Kurdish] people, and to the role he played in the formation of modern Iraq", the statement concluded. "A strong KRG within a unified and federal Iraq is essential to its long-term stability and to the enduring defeat of ISIS (IS)", she said, whose destruction is a major USA policy objective in the region.

The leader of Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region is stepping down after a failed push for independence.

The Peshmerga took over the multi-ethnic region of Kirkuk in 2014, after the Iraqi army collapsed in the face of Islamic State, preventing the militants from controlling its oilfields.

"They (Baghdad) used the referendum as an excuse". The United States had urged the Kurds not to hold the referendum, anxious it would precipitate a backlash.

The handing over of the crossing to the Iraqi authorities came after talks on Friday, Saturday and Sunday to resolve the conflict between the central Iraqi government in Baghdad and the Kurds.

The United Kingdom's Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on Monday urged Iraq and the Kurdistan Region to seek a quick and peaceful resolution to the current tensions.

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