dimanche 3 février 2008

No regional conflicts over KERKUK - Talabani

Kerkuk - Voices of Iraq
Sunday , 03 /02 /2008

Kirkuk, Feb 2, (VOI) – Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said Kirkuk would not witness regional conflicts for it is an Iraqi city subject to the country's constitution, noting article 140 on the situation in Kirkuk was legal and would be implemented.

"A period of six months was set to implement article 140 of the Iraqi constitution pertaining to Kirkuk. Implementation of this article would take place on its due time," Talabani said during a press conference held on Saturday evening at his residence in Kirkuk.Talabani had arrived on Wednesday in the oil-rich city that was the theme of recent political haggle due to the application of article 140 of the Iraqi constitution, which has to do with disputed regions. The article provides for normalization and census as a prelude for a self-determination referendum.

The referendum was supposed to take place late last year but the ad hoc committee called for extending the deadline to end the stages of its work. Also, the UN had appealed to the Kurdish leaders to delay implementation of the article for six months.
On his visit to the city, the Iraqi president said he met with all groups in Kirkuk. "There are opinions by all groups favoring fraternity and peaceful coexistence," Talabani said, stressing the need to increase appropriations for Kirkuk from the state budget.

Talabani expressed support for the quota system in Kirkuk as a solution to distribute administrative posts in accordance with the consensus of the four ethnic groups in the city: the Arabs, Kurds, Turcomans and Assyrians.

"The problem of distributing administrative posts would be solved on the basis of 32% for the Arabs, 32% for the Kurds, 32% for the Turcomans and 4% for the Christian Assyrians," he said, noting "Christians in Iraq are Iraqi citizens and have their rights."
Speaking on the Iraqi-Turkish relations, he replied that they were "historic"."We hope those ties would grow even stronger at the political, economic and cultural levels," he said, expressing readiness to visit Turkey if he received an official invitation.AE


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