BAGHDAD, April 22 (UPI) -- The U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq submitted a report Wednesday on the so-called disputed territories in northern Iraq to top government officials.
U.N. envoy to Iraq Staffan de Mistura had met separately during the weekend with Massoud Barzani, president of the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq, to discuss proposals for settling jurisdictional issues over Kirkuk and the so-called disputed territories in Iraq.
The KRG lays claim to the provinces of Erbil, Dahuk and Sulaimaniya, as well as portions of Diyala and Ninawa.
Saddam Hussein had attempted to alter the regional demographics in the 1980s by driving Kurdish, Assyrian and Turkoman families from the region in an effort to control northern oil reserves. Iraqi law calls for a census to settle the issue of demographics and power-sharing arrangements for matters of jurisdiction in order to reverse that policy.
The issue has been the focal point of tensions between the central government in Baghdad and the KRG. Those tensions nearly erupted in violence in 2008 over disputes in the northern Diyala city of Khanaqin.
In its report, UNAMI did not offer any suggestions pertaining to the administration over those areas, instead calling for local measures to address each of the areas.
"Our strong hope in presenting these very thorough and objective reports, which analyze these highly complex disputed areas in ways that nobody has ever done before, is that the parties will use them to start a process of concrete dialogue," de Mistura said, noting the simmering tensions over the territories.
On Kirkuk province, UNAMI reviewed several options for administration there as a starting point for negotiations but noted all of those options consider Kirkuk as a single entity.