Iraq says Kurdish armed groups handed over heavy weapons
Iraqi Foreign Minister, Fuad Hussein, says the Kurdish armed groups along the Iranian border have handed over their heavy weapons and the process for their relocation will be taken based on agreement between the two countries.
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Speaking on Monday, Fuad Hussein said the armed groups and their families will be relocated to five camps, which have been set up in Iraq's Kurdistan region.
The top Iraqi diplomat reiterated his country's commitment to the security agreement with Iran, saying the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has taken necessary measures in accordance with Baghdad's agreement with Tehran.
Stressing that Iraq pursues peaceful approaches based on dialogue and respect for its neighbors, Hussein said Baghdad opposes any act of violence against its national sovereignty.
Back in March, Iran and Iraq concluded a security agreement under which the Iraqi government has promised to disarm terrorist and separatist groups based in the Kurdistan region by September 19, vacate their military barracks, and transfer them to the camps established by the Baghdad government.
Iran's Defense Minister Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Ashtiani said on Sunday that Tehran will not extend the ultimatum given to Iraq to disarm Kurdish separatist groups along the border with Iran, warning Baghdad of an "eleventh-hour decision" on the matter.
"We do not have any extension [to the deadline]. We will act in due time in accordance with the agreement made [with Iraq]," he said.
Reports say Iraq’s national security advisor, KRG minister of interior, and special representative of the United Nations' secretary general for Iraq have met in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan region, and discussed the implementation of the security pact.
Last week, Bafel Talabani, leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), held talks with the Iranian foreign minister and Parliament speaker, Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf.
Meanwhile, Iraqi media reported on Saturday the country's border guards have managed to gain full control over an area on the Kurdistan region’s border with Iran and drive out terrorist groups following fierce clashes.
Iraq’s Shafaq News Agency cited the country’s Border Guard Forces as saying in a statement late on Friday that they had seized border points in Erbil Province and raised Iraq’s national flag in the area after clashes with the “outlaws.”
The security agreement between the two countries came after anti-Iranian terrorist groups residing in Iraqi Kurdistan region increased their malign activities, especially in border areas.
Responding to their activities, Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has launched several rounds of strikes against their positions since September 24 last year, vowing to continue the attacks until the groups are disarmed.
Iran has, on countless occasions, warned Iraqi Kurdistan’s local authorities that it will not tolerate the presence and activity of terrorist groups along its northwestern borders, saying the country will give a decisive response should those areas become a haven for anti-Tehran terrorists.