Iraqi forces, Kurds agree to ease tension

BAGHDAD, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) — Iraq’s federal and Kurdish military leaders reached an initial agreement to defuse the crisis that led both sides to send reinforcements to the disputed areas.

“The two sides agreed to start easing tensions and discuss mechanism to withdraw the forces which were deployed after the crisis to their previous positions,” Dhiaa al-Wakil, spokesman of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s military office, said in a statement obtained by Xinhua on Tuesday.

He said that the two sides also “agreed to continue their meeting and to activate the higher coordinating committees between the (federal) armed forces and the (Kurdish) regional guards ( known as Peshmerga).”

Later on, Sefeen Dazaie, spokesman of the Kurdish regional government, clarified in a statement that the Kurdish delegation is a technical committee with no power to decide the withdrawal of the regional guards from their positions, but they will report back to the Kurdish leadership for the next steps.

“The delegation members are tasked with finding appropriate solutions for the crisis and preparing for a higher meeting between the ministers of the two sides,” Dazaie said.

On Monday, a Kurdish security delegation headed by Jabbar Yawar, secretary general of the ministry of Peshmerga in Kurdistan regional government, arrived in Baghdad and met with security leaders in the central government.

The meeting came after efforts made by Iraqi Parliament Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi, who held talks with the Iraqi prime minister and Kurdish regional president Masaoud Barzani.

The tensions between the two sides have been running high since Baghdad established a military command, named Dijla (Tigris) Operations Command, to cover the disputed areas in the provinces of Kirkuk, Diyala and Salahudin.