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 Maliki's visit to Kirkuk city was "provocative", says Iraqi Kurdish MP

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Maliki's visit to Kirkuk city was "provocative", says Iraqi Kurdish MP  10.5.2012  







May 10, 2012

BAGHDAD, — An MP from the Kurdish Blocs Coalition (KBC) Wednesdays expressed her disappointment over Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's visit to Kirkuk, adding that the visit was "provocative".

The Iraqi Council of Ministers held a meeting in Kirkuk province on Tuesday under the chairmanship of Maliki, who said that the identity of the disputed province must be an Iraqi identity and that no other identity can prevail.

Alaa Talabani said in a statement: "We hoped Maliki would discuss during his visit the sufferings of the province and the way to end it after it was targeted by the totalitarian regime in the broadest campaign of repression, displacement and killings in a desperate attempt to take out the original nationalism from it where the regime implemented forced displacement, killings, and looting of land and property against the citizens of Kirkuk from the Kurd and Turkmen.

"Maliki ignored the rights of Kurds and Turkmen that were robbed by the totalitarian regime and this made his visit provocative more so than a visit to inspect the province and work to end the suffering of the citizens and give them real guarantees about their stolen rights and accelerate holding a referendum to allow the people to determine the fate of Kirkuk to join the Kurdistan Region.

Talabani added that "this visit will increase the tense relations between the federal government and the Kurdistan Region.

"Iraq is facing a major political crisis and the State of Law Coalition doesn't appear to be working to resolve them in collaboration with partners in the political process by resorting to the constitution and the law to ensure the full rights of the citizens that suffered a lot in Kirkuk,www.ekurd.net especially from the dictatorial regime ruling."

Kirkuk province, as well as other areas in the provinces of Nineveh, Diyala and Salahaddin, are among the areas in which ownership is disputed between the federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government.

Maliki's statements about the identity of Kirkuk may increase the tension between Baghdad and Erbil, which surfaced recently after the Kurdistan Region refused to hand over Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi to Baghdad.

The oil-rich province of Kirkuk is one of the most disputed areas by the regional government and the Iraqi government in Baghdad.

The Kurds are seeking to integrate the province into the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region clamming it to be historically a Kurdish city, it lies just south border of the Kurdistan autonomous region,
www.ekurd.net the population is a mix of majority Kurds and minority of Arabs, Christians and Turkmen, lies 250 km northeast of Baghdad. Kurds have a strong cultural and emotional attachment to Kirkuk, which they call "the Kurdish Jerusalem." Kurds see it as the rightful and perfect capital of an autonomous Kurdistan state.

Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution is related to the normalization of the situation in Kirkuk city and other disputed areas through having back its Kurdish inhabitants and repatriating the Arabs relocated in the city during the former regime’s time to their original provinces in central and southern Iraq.

The article also calls for conducting a census to be followed by a referendum to let the inhabitants decide whether they would like Kirkuk to be annexed to the autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan region or having it as an independent province.

The former regime of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had forced over 250,000 Kurdish residents to give up their homes to Arabs in the 1970s, to "Arabize" the city and the region's oil industry.

The last ethnic-breakdown census in Iraq was conducted in 1957, well before Saddam began his program to move Arabs to Kirkuk. That count showed 178,000 Kurds, 48,000 Turkomen, 43,000 Arabs and 10,000 Assyrian-Chaldean Christians living in the city. 

AK news part of the report by
Salam Baghdadi

Copyright ©, respective author or news agency, aknews.com | ekurd.net | Agencies  

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