BAGHDAD / Aswat al-Iraq: Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq said differences between Federal and Kurdistan governments would be solved soon despite ‘complications’.
Al-Mutlaq refused the return of any foreign force to Iraq to protect the disputed areas, underlining in a statement that solving local problems should be by Iraqis themselves through political dialogue and peaceful means.
Talks to defuse a standoff between Iraqi troops and forces from the country's autonomous Kurdish region made little progress on Thursday with both sides further reinforcing positions on their disputed internal border.
The second military build-up this year illustrates how far relations between Baghdad's central government, led by Shi'ite Muslim Arabs, and ethnic Kurds have deteriorated, testing Iraq's federal cohesion nearly a year after American troops left.
Baghdad and Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region earlier this week both sent troops to an area over which they both claim jurisdiction, raising the temperature in a long-running feud over land and oil rights.
Iraqi Kurdish President Massoud Barzani met Iraq's speaker of parliament on Thursday in an apparent effort to cool the row.
A statement issued after the talks said Barzani had agreed to "open the door" to negotiations.
In the meantime, both Kurdish troops and the Iraqi army reinforced their position in and around the contested cities of Kirkuk and Khanaqin, a police source said.
A spokesman for the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party (PUK), which co-governs the Kurdish region, said their troops, known as Peshmerga, were under strict instruction not to engage with Iraqi forces.
But a spokesman for the commander of the Iraqi security forces
said Kurdish troops were provoking them.