Iraq party rejects Kirkuk poll delay; UN admits errors on disputed areas

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Iraq party rejects Kirkuk poll delay; UN admits errors on disputed areas

Post by GottaDash on Fri Jul 11, 2008 7:07 pm

(BBC) -Deputy Hashim al-Ta'i, head of the parliamentary Regions and Governorates Committee, has said that the issue of Kirkuk needs solutions by neutral experts in the field of demographic geography provided they are not subject to any political influence.
Al-Ta'i told reporters that a parliamentary fact-finding committee will be set up to review the registers of the civil status department and the documents of the previous consensuses."

Within its 1700 gmt newscast, the channel carries the following reports:

- "Staffan de Mistura, UN secretary general's representative in Iraq, has admitted that the articles of the first-phase report on the disputed areas contains mistakes. He noted that he will address these errors in the second and third phases of the report. Speaking to reporters during a news conference with speaker of the Kurdistan Parliament, he said that the UN commission is interested in the remarks raised by the Kurdish leaders. He added that he is about to draft recommendations in the second and third reports on the areas of Khaniqin, Sinjar, and Kirkuk. For his part, Kurdistan Parliament Speaker Adnan al-Mufti expressed concern over the recommendations of the first phase, stressing the need to apply Iraqi Constitution's Article 140 on Kirkuk and the other areas."

- "Iraq and Turkey have signed an agreement to set up a higher council for bilateral strategic cooperation in the areas of security, politics, and power. The agreement was signed at the end of the first round of talks between Nuri al-Maliki and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the prime ministers of both countries."

Within its 1900 gmt, the channel carries the following reports:

- "The Arab Unity Bloc in Kirkuk has said that it will not agree on postponing the elections in Kirkuk except if certain conditions are met, including reviewing the numbers of Kurdish returnees, scrutinizing voter lists, and holding the elections on the same day. Husayn Ali Salih, head of the Arab Unity Bloc, has urged the Parliament, the government, the UN, and the Arab League to take a firm stance in this respect. Warning that this issue poses a real threat, he said that he is willing to enter into talks with the Kurdish leaders to settle this file."

Husayn is cited saying: "Frankly speaking, we have got used to seeing the figures of the parliamentary political blocs hold deals that do not serve the Iraqis at all. They only serve the interests of the heads of the political blocs. This, is indeed a serious matter that could drag Iraq into endless problems. Kirkuk has a special status, and, therefore, we have to address this issue accordingly."

- "Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has not thus far given any direct clarification on remarks by government sources on the need to reach an understanding with the US Administration on a timetable for pulling the US troops from Iraq. A local news agency cited a source at Sayyid al-Sistani's office, who remained unnamed, as saying that the religious authority announced his support for the government's stand as regards the departure of the US troops from Iraq."

Originally published by Al-Sharqiyah TV, Dubai, in Arabic 1600-1900 10 Jul 08.

Copyright, respective author or news agency, BBC Monitoring

* Kirkuk city is historically a Kurdish city and it lies just south border of the Kurdistan autonomous region, the population is a mix of majority Kurds and minority of Arabs,
Christians and Turkmen. lies 250 km northeast of Baghdad. Kurds have a strong cultural and emotional attachment to Kirkuk, which they call "the Kurdish Jerusalem."

Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution is related to the normalization of the situation in Kirkuk city and other disputed areas.

The article also calls for conducting a census to be followed by a referendum to let the inhabitants decide whether they would like Kirkuk to be annexed to the autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan region or having it as an independent province.

These stages were supposed to end on December 31, 2007, a deadline that was later extended to six months to end in July 2008.

The former regime of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had forced over 250,000 Kurdish residents to give up their homes to Arabs in the 1970s, to "Arabize" the city and the region's oil industry.

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