Iraqi, Kurdish leaders meet in Baghdad

July 8, 2013 at 10:56 AM
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BAGHDAD, July 8 (UPI) -- Bilateral talks between the Kurdish and central governments in Iraq suggest the political will exists to resolve ongoing crises, a U.N. special envoy said.

Masoud Barzani, president of the Kurdistan Regional Government, met recently with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Baghdad to discuss national security and political issues. It is the second such meeting in 30 days.

A string of late June bombings across Baghdad left at least 17 people dead. Maliki traveled to Erbil, the seat of the semiautonomous Kurdish government, in early June.

U.N. special envoy to Iraq Martin Kobler said the meeting was a sign of the sustained interest in political solutions to Iraq's problems.

"It confirms that there is political will to address outstanding issues between the [central] and the [Kurdish] region through direct dialogue and in accordance with the constitution," he said in a statement Sunday.

Disputes over jurisdiction in the northern Kurdish provinces have added to Iraq's post-war tensions.

The U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq said last week June violence left more civilians dead than members of the national security force or police.

UNAMI reports 761 documented deaths as a result of terrorism or other acts of violence in Iraq in June. More than 1,700 injuries were associated with the violence.

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