Iraqi President calls for dialogue to resolve Kirkuk tensions

Iraqi President calls for dialogue to resolve Kirkuk tensions

Shafaq News/ Iraqi President Abdul Latif Rashid issued a statement on Saturday emphasizing the urgent need for talk to end the escalating tensions in Kirkuk as the situation in the governorate continues to deteriorate.

In his statement, President Rashid expressed "deep concern" over the developments unfolding in Kirkuk Governorate. He reiterated his commitment to peace and urged all parties involved in the "unfortunate events in Kirkuk to refrain from threats or the use of force."

"We call on everyone to prioritize the interests of the people and the stability of the country over any other interests," President Rashid stressed.

President Rashid emphasized the importance of preserving the gains and achievements of all Iraqi people, regardless of their sect or ethnicity, highlighting the necessity of constructive dialogue as the key to calming the current tension. He warned against allowing any opportunity for terrorist groups to exploit the situation, destabilize the region, and spill Iraqi blood.

President Rashid underscored Kirkuk's historical significance as a symbol of Iraqi unity and emphasized that the ongoing crisis should not distort its image.

He called upon the federal government and security forces to intervene decisively to regain control of the situation in Kirkuk and establish law and order that upholds peace and justice. Additionally, he urged all political parties, social organizations, and the public to play their roles in averting strife and preserving the stability and security of the Kirkuk Governorate and its citizens.

The security situation in Kirkuk remains highly precarious, with various groups rejecting the Iraqi government's decision to evacuate the Kurdistan Democratic Party's headquarters. The protracted closure of the Erbil-Kirkuk road, which ignited the ongoing unrest, has significantly disrupted the region's daily life and economic activities.

Reports from security sources indicate that the protests have escalated into violence, resulting in two fatalities and ten injuries. The violence has unfolded alongside the demonstrations, highlighting the deeply rooted tensions in the area.

In response to the worsening crisis, the Kirkuk Police Command imposed a comprehensive curfew throughout the governorate. Residents have been urged to stay indoors to prevent further violence and unrest, with security forces maintaining a heightened state of readiness to ensure citizen safety.

A security delegation led by the Commander of Joint Operations has arrived in Kirkuk to assess the situation, hoping to achieve a resolution in the coming week.

The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, PM Al-Sudani, issued directives to impose a curfew in Kirkuk Governorate, emphasizing the need to prevent civilians from carrying weapons and instructing security forces to take a firm stance against any party attempting to disrupt Kirkuk's security.

Maj. Gen. Yahya Rasool, the Commander-in-Chief's spokesman, announced that comprehensive security operations would be initiated in areas affected by recent riots to conduct thorough inspections. He appealed to all political parties, social organizations, and the public to actively prevent strife and maintain security, stability, and order in Kirkuk Governorate.

Kirkuk is a city in northern Iraq located in the disputed territories. The city has a mixed population of Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen, and Christians. The security status of Kirkuk is complex and has been volatile in recent years.

The Kurds are the majority ethnic group in Kirkuk, making up about 60% of the population. They have long claimed Kirkuk as their capital and have fought for control of the city for many years. The Arabs are the second-largest ethnic group in Kirkuk, making up about 25% of the population. They have traditionally been the dominant group in the city and have opposed Kurdish control.

The city has been the scene of clashes between Kurdish and Arab forces, as well as between Iraqi government forces and Kurdish Peshmerga forces.

The status of Kirkuk is disputed. The Kurds claim Kirkuk is part of their autonomous region, but the Iraqi government insists it is an Iraqi city. The United Nations has called for a referendum on the status of Kirkuk, but so far, no agreement has been reached on the terms of the referendum.

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