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Iraqi Kurdish politician wants rights protected
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Iraqi Kurdish politician wants rights
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
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
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
The constitution contained a 2007 deadline for the
vote, but it has yet to take place — fueling growing
tension between Baghdad and the Kurds.
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.
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