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 Baghdad yet to accept Kurds as second ethnic group: Kurdistan Peshmarga minister

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Baghdad yet to accept Kurds as second ethnic group: Kurdistan Peshmarga minister  24.1.2012 

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Jaafar Sheikh Mustafa, Minister of Pehsmarga.
January 24, 2012

ERBIL-Hewlęr, Kurdistan region 'Iraq', — Baghdad does not accept Kurds as teh second largest ethnic group and a real partner in Iraq. This is why neither Kurdistan Region nor the federal government can resolve outstanding issues like the disputed territories, Minister of Pehsmarga Jaafar Sheikh Mustafa said.

Speaking to AKnews, Mustafa said rather than resolve the problems over the last five years of negotiations, "there were attempts to make the issues more complicated."

Mustafa conceded that on some issues negotiations have been fruitful.

"It is more than two years that we reached an agreement on Peshmarga numbers and budget," the minister said. "But none have been put into action."

The parties agreed that the Peshmarga force should not exceed 190,000 individuals; 90,000 to be retired and the rest to be re-named as border guards.

An agreement between Kurdistan Regional President Massoud Barzani and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to create two Iraqi army divisions in Kurdistan out of 30,000 border guards, was also issued as an order but was never carried out.

The minister added it is for the six successive year the Peshmarga budget is being discussed by the Council of Representatives. It has been decided Baghdad should fund the Peshmarga but the legislation is not enforced.

By Omar Ali

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