Iraqi PM does not want 'armed confrontation' with Kurds

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei receives Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Tehran

Iraqi and US officials involved in the campaign to eradicate the group said the Islamic State was exhausted and severely depleted during the grueling nine-month battle for Mosul, the largest city in northern Iraq and the most important territory the militants held after their 2014 sweep of northern and central Iraq.

Last month, more than 90% of Iraqi Kurds voted to secede from Iraq and establish the country of Kurdistan.

October 6 (IANS): Thousands of people on Friday bid farewell to former Iraqi President Jalal Talabani who died earlier this week. The prime minister continued to call it a "victory not just of Iraq but of the whole world". Shortly after securing an autonomous zone in the 1990s with the backing of a USA -enforced no-fly zone, Barzani and Talabani's rival factions - mainly their Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and the Kurdistan Democratic Party - were drawn into a bitter civil war that killed thousands of civilians and fighters on both sides.

Multiethnic oil-rich Kirkuk is a focal territory disputed between Erbil and Baghdad, and after Hawija liberation, Iraqi forces are in direct contact with Kurdish Peshmerga guarding territories claimed by Kurdistan.

The UN s humanitarian affairs office said the number of people still in the town was unknown but could be as high as 78,000. Last week, the militants released a purported audio recording of Baghdadi, in which he urged followers to keep up the fight despite recent setbacks.

Central government figures and Iraqi Kurdish leaders including longtime Kurdish rival Massud Barzani attended his funeral at the airport of Sulaimaniyah, Talabani's longtime fiefdom in Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region. The comments suggest the Turks may be reviewing their policy of letting Iraq's landlocked Kurds export oil independently through the same pipeline.

France confirmed a 30 million euro loan for Iraqi reconstruction, and appears eager to play a big economic role in Iraq's future. [REUTERS/Ako Rasheed] Hawija was included in the Kurdish referendum on independence, which overwhelming decided in favor of Kurdish independence from Iraq.

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Mr Macron held talks with Iraqi prime minister Haider Al Abadi in Paris about French support for the fight against ISIL and rebuilding Iraqi's economy. Macron is now the only global leader working to reshape the geopolitical situation in Iraq as the Islamic State is dissolving. The Kurds took control of Kirkuk in 2014, when the Iraqi army fled in the face of Islamic State's advance.

Rouhani said that sensitive regional issues including the latest development in Syria and northern Iraqi Kurdish autonomous region were discussed during the meeting.

It is in that porous border region that USA and Iraqi officials believe the group's leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is hiding. "Turkey, Iran and Iraq's central government will do so together", said Erdogan.

He added that Turkey, Iran and Iraq would jointly decide on closing the flow of oil from northern Iraq, a vital source of earnings for Iraqi Kurdistan.

Erdogan's journey adds to presence in Tehran for two days of Turkish chief of staff, General Hulusi Akar, who has interviewed Minister of Defence, Lieutenant-General Amir Hatamí, and Secretary of National Security Council., Admiral Ali Shamkhani.

The president stated: "Iran and Turkey do not accept separatism and the escalation of ethnic and religious disagreements designed by conspirators and foreigners for our region, and from the point of view of the two countries, Iraq and Syria are integrated countries and we will not accept changing the geographical boundaries under any condition". Both Iran and Turkey have significant Kurdish minorities, so by smothering the Kurdish independence movement in Iraq, they may be preventing the rise of future Kurdish independence movements in their own nations.

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