Iraqi PM urges for order, calm after rioting in Kurdish region

Source: Xinhua| 2017-10-30 19:32:28|Editor: liuxin
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BAGHDAD, Oct. 30 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Monday called for adherence to order and calm in the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan after a riot that followed Masoud Barzani stepped down from his post as president of Kurdistan region.

In a statement by his office, Abadi said that he is "closely following the developments in Kurdistan region and the attacks on the headquarters of the (Kurdish) parties and media workers, in attempts to create chaos and disturbances in Erbil and Duhok."

It said that such disturbances "would harm our citizens in the region.The political differences should not reflect on the Kurdish citizen."

"We assure the keenness of the federal government on the stabilization of the situations in all Iraqi provinces," according to the statement.

The disorder occurred late on Sunday after the regional President Barzani said that he was stepping down from his post on Nov. 1, but he pledged to continue to be part of the Peshmerga, according to Barzani's letter read in the regional parliament.

Barzani's resignation sparked chaos in the evening as dozens of protestors, loyal to him, broke into the parliament building and attacked journalists who were covering the parliament session at the entrance of the building.

The chaos came under control after riot police intervened and bullets were heard as they drove out the protestors.

Barzani, 71, a veteran Kurdish leader, took over the post of president of the regional government in 2005. However, Barzani's post has sparked controversy, as his tenure expired on Aug. 19, 2015. He is also the leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party since 1979.

On Oct. 16, Iraqi Prime Minister Abadi, who is also Commander-in-Chief of Iraqi forces, ordered government forces to enter the oil-rich Kirkuk province in northern Iraq to regain control of the ethnically-mixed disputed areas.

The Kurds consider the northern Kirkuk province and parts of Nineveh, Diyala and Salahudin provinces as disputed areas and want them to be incorporated into their region, a move fiercely opposed by the Arabs and Turkmens in the region as well as the Iraqi central government.

Tensions have been running high between Baghdad and the region of Kurdistan after the Kurds held a controversial referendum on the independence of the Kurdistan region and the disputed areas.