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 Iraqi Kurdish politician wants rights protected 

 Source : AP
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Iraqi Kurdish politician wants rights protected  22.2.2009   

February 22, 2009

BAGHDAD,  A Kurdish politician whose list won nearly a third of the vote in a volatile northern province in last month's local elections said Saturday that his group will cooperate with Sunni Arab rivals if they respect Kurdish territorial rights.

Claims by Sunni Arabs and Kurds over disputed territory in the northern Ninevah province have fueled significant violence in the provincial capital of Mosul. U.S. officials have called the city Iraq's last major urban battleground in the war against al-Qaida and other Sunni insurgents.

The Kurds govern a semi-autonomous Kurdistan region in northern Iraq to which they would like to add additional disputed territory they claim was historically Kurdish.

They are pushing Iraq's Arab-dominated central government to hold a constitutionally mandated referendum that would let people in these disputed territories decide if they want to join the Kurdish-ruled area.

The constitution contained a 2007 deadline for the vote, but it has yet to take place fueling growing tension between Baghdad and the Kurds.

Muhsin al-Saadoun,
www.ekurd.netwhose Ninevah Brotherhood list won 12 of 37 seats on the provincial council in Jan. 31 elections, said Sunni Arabs must "respect the Iraqi constitution and the feelings and will of the Kurds."

The Kurdish official's statement came almost two weeks after a hard-line Sunni Arab whose list won 19 seats in Ninevah called for talks with the Kurds to pave the way for cooperation.

The Sunnis boycotted the last round of provincial elections in 2005, and U.S. officials hope their newfound political voice will help reinforce Iraq's path toward improved security and stability.

Copyright, respective author or news agency, AP 


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