Iraqi PM Criticizes Kurdish Region for Barring Army from Syrian Border Area
    2012-07-28 23:31:46     Xinhua       Web Editor: dingxiaoxiao

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al- Maliki criticized authorities of the country's semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan for preventing Iraqi army soldiers sent by Baghdad from reaching a border point with Syria located at a disputed area controlled by Kurdish forces.

"The objection (of the Kurdish region) to deploy federal forces on our common border with Syria, which is outside the (Kurdish) region is a clear violation of the laws and security measures," Maliki said in a statement posted on his website.

The latest tension between Baghdad and Kurdish region came after soldiers from an Iraqi army brigade on Wednesday moved from Baghdad-controlled area of Rabiyah to Kurdish-controlled Fishkhabour border crossing point with Syria in Zummar area, which is originally part of disputed areas between Baghdad and Kurdistan region.

The Iraqi troops were prevented to reach their target by the Kurdish Peshmerga security forces.

"The decision to deploy troops from the federal army and police on the border with Syria came to prevent the negative consequences of what is happening in Syria on the security situation in Iraq," Maliki said, stressing that "It wasn't targeting the Kurdistan region."

He confirmed that it is the responsibilities of his federal government exclusively to maintain the country's sovereignty and to safeguard borders, calling on the regional government of Kurdistan to respect the law and order.

"Such action by the Kurdish regional forces could ignite a conflict with the Iraqi armed forces," Maliki warned.

Lawmakers from the Kurdish coalition in the Iraqi parliament said in a statement obtained by Xinhua that "the Iraqi troops' move was not coordinated between the federal and the regional governments.

"The new Iraq and its constitution do not allow using the armed and security forces in the internal political differences, and any use of these forces in this way will be the end of civil peace and the democratic system," The Kurdish coalition statement said.

On Tuesday, the Iraqi army moves a brigade from Iraq's southern province of Dhi-Qar to Iraqi-Syrian border to enhance security measures, namely to scrutinize the identities of all Iraqis who flee the unrest in Syria to detain those who are wanted according to arrest warrants issued earlier by the Iraqi judiciary.

Tensions have been high between Baghdad and the Kurdish authorities in Arbil, some 400 km north of the Iraqi capital, over several disputes, and the Kurdish regional president Masoud Barzani has supported efforts to pass a no-confidence motion against Maliki.

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