Iraqi PM meets Kurdish leaders

Officials to hold talks aimed at resolving disputes over oil and land.

    The US is pushing for the territorial disagreements to be resolved before it troops are withdrawn [AFP]

    Al-Maliki is to hold talks with Talabani and Massoud Barzani, the recently re-elected Kurdish regional president, at Dokan, a summer resort 75km northwest of Sulaimaniyah.

    "This visit is a very positive point and opens dialogue between the two [parties] in order to solve the problems between the central government and Kurdistan," Mahmoud Othman, a senior Kurdish MP, said.

    Differences

    The Kurds are pushing to expand their semi-autonomous region to include the oil-rich, ethnically-mixed province of Kirkuk and other areas.

    But the move has triggered an increasingly heated war of words with the central government.

    During campaigning ahead of last weekends' regional elections, Barzani insisted that he would not "compromise" on the Kurds' longstanding claims to Kirkuk.

    On a visit to Iraq last week, Robert Gates, the US defence secretary, urged Arab and Kurdish leaders to settle their political differences before US troops leave Iraq under a security agreement between Baghdad and Washington.

    The US military is closely monitoring the situation and has set up liaison offices with commanders of Kurdish fighters and Baghdad government forces in a bid to ease tensions, General Ray Odierno, the top US commander in Iraq, said.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Take a tour through East and West Jerusalem to see the difference in quality of life for Israelis and Palestinians.

    Stories from the sex trade

    Stories from the sex trade

    Dutch sex workers, pimps and johns share their stories.

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    As the stigma associated with being childless persists, some elderly women in India risk it all to become mothers.