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U.N. presses for dialogue in Iraq

April 29, 2013 at 1:26 PM

BAGHDAD, April 29 (UPI) -- Iraqi leaders can get past a "critical juncture" by settling outstanding issues between the Kurdish and central governments, U.N. envoy Martin Kobler said.

Kobler called on Iraqi and Kurdish officials to address issues ranging from security to revenue sharing that have plagued their relationship for years.

"At this critical juncture, sitting together and talking in a constructive spirit is the best way to overcome problems," he said in a statement.

Iraqi security forces are accused of firing on protesters near the northern city of Kirkuk. Both sides are at odds over jurisdiction over the so-called disputed territories, a stretch of land reaching from northwest Nineveh province to the western border of Iran in Diyala province.

Kobler last week said Iraq was "at a crossroads." Provincial elections in April were undermined by a series of bombings and political assassinations.

Iraqi provincial elections April 20 were the first since U.S. combat forces left Iraq in December 2011.

Attacks across the country Monday left at least 21 people dead and more than 75 others injured.

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