ERBIL, Iraq, Aug. 28 (UPI) -- Kurdish President Massoud Barzani told U.S. officials he was surprised by the Iraqi troop presence in the north of Diyala province.
"It is surprising that the Iraqi army is trying to send forces to this area on the pretext of fighting terrorism and that they have not tried to coordinate with the Kurdistan Regional Government," the president said in a statement from the KRG.
His statements came during a meeting with U.S. officials who traveled to the region to discuss developments over the disputed status of the city of Kirkuk.
Talks with the U.S. delegation focused on the deployment of Iraqi troops in the northern Diyala town of Khanaqin, which local officials claim had been peaceful until recently.
"Baghdad should exclude Khanaqin from military operations because there is no al-Qaida in our city," Khanaqin Mayor Mohammad Mullah said Wednesday.
Thomas Krajeski, the U.S. envoy charged with overseeing Kirkuk developments, expressed concern over the use of troops for anything other than national security.
"We are against the use of force to resolve outstanding issues by anyone, whether it be by the (KRG) or the central government," he said.