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 No response from Iraqi government on annexing Kirkuk to Kurdistan

 Source : VOI | Agencies
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No response from Iraqi government on annexing Kirkuk to Kurdistan  23.8.2008 

August 23, 2008

Erbil-Hewler, Kurdistan region "Iraq", — The Kirkuk provincial council has not received any response from the federal government in Baghdad and the government of Kurdistan on the demands made by al-Taakhi List to annex Kirkuk into Kurdistan, the deputy head of the Kirkuk provincial council said on Friday.

“Our demand to annex Kirkuk into Kurdistan has not been responded yet by Iraqi and Kurdish governments as well as the parliament,” Rebwar Talabani told VOI.

“In case the demand is rejected, we will boycott all Iraqi ministries,” he added.

Article 24 of the provincial council elections stipulates the postponement of the elections in Kirkuk and to share the power between the main components; 32 for Arabs, Kurds and Turcomans and 4 percent for Christians, in addition to military units from central and southern Iraq instead of the military troops working now in the oil-rich province.

Three week ago, 24 Kurdish members of Kirkuk’s local council requested annexing Kirkuk to Kurdistan’s region amid staunch opposition from Arab and Turkmen members.

The Iraqi president emphasized the importance of "reaching accordance among Kirkuk’s ethnicities in tandem with his quest to strike a deal among Iraq’s denominations."

Iraq's Parliament passed the provincial election bill three weeks ago, but a walkout by Kurdish lawmakers over how to deal with the disputed oil city of Kirkuk unleashed heated debate about it.

The Presidential Board appealed it, citing violation of the national reconciliation and upsetting the quota for women as reasons. The law is meant to pave the way for polls seen as vital to reconciling Iraq's factions, who boycotted the last provincial elections in 2005, with its other communities.

Kirkuk city is historically a Kurdish city and it lies just south border of the Kurdistan autonomous region, 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."

Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution is related to the normalization of the situation in Kirkuk city and other disputed areas.

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.

Kirkuk, sits on the ruins of a 5,000-year-old settlement. Because of the strategic geographical location of the city, Kirkuk was the battle ground for three empires, Assyria, Babylonia and Media which controlled the city at various times.

Kirkuk is the center of the northern Iraqi petroleum industry. It is a historically and ethnically mixed city populated by Assyrians, Kurds, Arabs and Iraqi Turkmen. The population was estimated at 1,200,000 in 2008.

Copyright, respective author or news agency, VOI | Agencies   


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