Baghdad, Erbil reach agreement over disputed territory: PM

<p style="text-align:left">Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi told Rudaw during his weekly press conference on Tuesday evening that Iraq&amp;rsquo;s Minister of Defense has reached an agreement with Erbil's Ministry of Peshmerga regarding the security of the disputed areas.

&ldquo;The Iraqi Government and the Ministry of Peshmerga have reached an agreement regarding the security of the disputed areas. They have decided to protect the Iraq-Syria border and the Iraq-Iran border covering a total of 500 kilometers,&rdquo; Abdul-Mahdi announced.
&ldquo;The agreement between the Iraqi government and the Ministry of Peshmerga is to provide security and bring stability back to the areas that are witnessing a security gap in the disputed areas,&rdquo; he added.
The agreement focuses exclusively on matters of security and will not extend to the dilemma of output from Kirkuk&rsquo;s oilfields, situated on disputed territory.
&ldquo;The issues between the Kurdistan Region and Baghdad regarding the disputed areas are very complicated and are not easily resolvable, since the issues have been around for decades - especially oil and Kirkuk."
However, we are in close contact with Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) officials in order to reach a suitable solution,&rdquo; he added.
In the aftermath of the Kurdish independence referendum of September 2017, the Iraqi Army and Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF, otherwise known as Hashd al-Shaabi) launched an offensive against Peshmerga forces in the oil-rich province of Kirkuk and other areas considered disputed between Erbil and Baghdad.
&rdquo;There is a gap of 40 kilometers in the disputed areas that ISIS remnants have been taking advantage of, issuing threats to the civilians of the areas,&rdquo; Chief of Staff for the Ministry of Peshmerga Jabar Yawar told Rudaw English.
Yawar added that the federal police will be in charge of security within cities and towns; as such, the agreement between Iraqi forces and the Peshmerga will only take effect outside of urban areas.
&ldquo;Since February 4, 2019 the Iraqi Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Peshmerga have been in meetings regarding a deal that can bring security back to all the disputed areas including Kirkuk, Diyala, Makhmour and Tuz Khurmatu,&rdquo; he added.
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