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    The US is pushing for the territorial disagreements to be resolved before it troops are withdrawn [AFP]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

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    Al Jazeera examines three weeks of war from which both Arabs and Israelis claimed to emerge victorious.