United Nations expresses concern over forced displacement of Kurds from Kirkuk

A messy hand-over outside Kirkuk

The UN Security Council expressed concern over recent reports of violence near the city of Kirkuk in northern Iraq.

The region plunged into a major crisis last month when Kurdistan held an independence referendum, which was immediately denounced by Baghdad and neighbouring Iran and Turkey.

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"This department and the Iraqi federal government are the only two bodies with whom agreements should be reached for the development and investments in the energy sector", the ministry said in a statement, without mentioning Rosneft by name.

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Most of the violations are reported in Tuz Khurmato, a town populated mainly by Kurds and Shi'ite Turkmen, and in Kirkuk, an oil-rich multi-ethnic city taken on Monday from Kurdish forces by Iraqi troops. "All other armed group should not be allowed to stay", Abadi said. In addition, both the Kurds and Iraq's central government are military allies of the United States.

Abadi had said on Tuesday he considered the referendum "a thing of the past", and asked that the KRG cancel the outcome of the vote as a precondition for negotiations to begin.

The statement made no mention of the referendum, for which Baghdad retaliated with a series of punitive measures including the recapture of Kirkuk, which lies just outside KRG boundaries but had been in Peshmerga hands since 2014.

Iraqi armed forces also took control of Kurdish-held areas of Nineveh province north of Kirkuk, including the Mosul hydro-electric dam, after the Peshmerga pulled back. Iraqi oil officials expect production to resume on Sunday.

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