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Tillerson calls for Iraqi unity, urges dialogue on Kurdish issue

IANS | Baghdad |

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Monday that Washington was keen on dialogue between Iraqi government and the Iraqi Kurdish region to solve the Kurdish issue.

Tillerson made his remarks in his discussion with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi over the tension between Baghdad and the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan, Xinhua news agency reported.

In a statement by the Prime Minister’s Office, Tillerson said that the US supported Iraq’s unity and called for the importance of adherence to the constitution.

For his part, Abadi said what Baghdad did in Kirkuk was redeployment and imposition of state power, which are legal and constitutional procedures.

“We do not want to fight a battle with any (Iraqi) components, all of them are our sons, and when we entered Kirkuk we sent a clear message that the Kurdish citizens are Iraqis and we deal with them like other components,” Abadi said.

The statement said that the two sides also discussed “enhancing bilateral cooperation in various fields and the war against terrorism.”

Abadi told Tillerson the paramilitary Hashd Shaabi unit “is an official institution which is part of the Iraq institutions. We have to encourage the (Hashd Shaabi) fighters because they will be the hope for the country and the region.”