Protests show Arab-Kurd issues need
solving: UN Envoy to Iraq
UN Envoy to Iraq: Resolve Conflict with Kurds
February 23, 2011
WASHINGTON, — Protests in Iraq and
across the Arab world show the need to resolve
long-standing disputes between Arabs and Kurds in
northern Iraq before they trigger conflict, the
United Nations' envoy in Iraq said on Tuesday.
Iraq, including its northern Kurdistan region, has
been hit by
inspired by anti-government uprisings across the
While Iraqi demonstrators mostly have not called for
the ouster of the elected government of Prime
Minister Nuri al-Maliki, installed just two months
ago, they have demanded that local officials step
"In my mind, these manifestations (protests) show
how important it
Ad Melkert, the Special Representative of the United
Nations Secretary-General for Iraq (SRSG). Photo
is to take away sources of potential unrest in the
future," Ad Melkert told Reuters in Washington,
where he has been meeting White House and
Melkert said the United Nations was working with
officials in Baghdad and Iraq's semi-autonomous
Kurdistan region to try to set an agenda for
disputes over oil revenue-sharing and the future of
the city of Kirkuk, which lies in the center of an
oil-rich part of Iraq.
"As long as these issues are lurking and are
unresolved, they at any moment in time can just be
the trigger for conflict and polarization," he said.
"And what we see today on the streets just shows
that this can happen overnight, and you should try
to prevent that."
Melkert is the U.N. secretary-general's special
representative in Iraq.
Sulaimaniyah, in the Kurdish region, has turned into
a militarized city in recent days as
thousands of people rallied against
corruption and the local government.
Three people have died and more than have been 100
wounded in clashes between protesters and militia
forces linked to the two ruling parties of the
region. Demonstrations also have taken place in
Basra, Falluja, Kirkuk and other cities.
Melkert said he hoped the new government would
"really start to govern" as Iraq struggles to
establish democratic institutions nearly eight years
after a U.S.-led invasion toppled dictator Saddam
Resolving disputes between Baghdad and the Iraqi
Kurdish region was also important in view of the
scheduled withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq later
this year, Melkert said.
For decades, the KDP
of regional president Massoud Barzani and the
PUK of Iraq's President
Jalal Talabani have lorded over the region.
Massoud Barzani, the KDP chief and current Kurdistan president, and his
relatives control a large number of commercial
enterprises in Kurdistan-Iraq,www.ekurd.netwith
a gross value of several billion US dollars. The family is routinely
accused of corruption and nepotism by Kurdish media
as well as international observers.
author or news agency,
Reuters | ekurd.net
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