Warrant issued for Kurdish VP

Kosrat Rasul Ali, vice president of Iraqi Kurdistan. (AFP file)
Updated 19 October 2017

Warrant issued for Kurdish VP

BAGHDAD: A Baghdad court issued an arrest warrant for the vice president of Iraq’s autonomous northern Kurdish region on Thursday for saying that Iraqi forces had “occupied” the disputed province of Kirkuk this week.
However, the warrant against Kosrat Rasul is unlikely to be executed, as the central government in Baghdad has no enforceable authority in the Kurdish-administered north.
The court accused Rasul of “insulting” Iraq’s armed forces, which is forbidden by Iraqi law.
Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool, spokesman for Iraq’s armed forces, said the military would redeploy to all areas it controlled before the rise of Daesh.
On Thursday, tensions ran high along the main road between the Kurdish regional capital, Irbil, and Kirkuk. Kurdish forces on Wednesday took up positions about 5 km beyond their initial lines, regrouping to defend the town of Altun Kupri. Iraqi forces established their own positions about 1.6 km away.
Altun Kupri likes just outside the boundary of the Iraqi Kurdish autonomous zone. Kurdish forces moved into the town in 2014.
The pullout this week from the city of Kirkuk and other towns and villages they held is likely to deprive the Kurdish regional government of a substantial revenue stream.
The Kirkuk oil field surrounding the city was estimated in 2007 to hold almost 9 billion barrels of oil. Iraq’s Oil Ministry said it has asked British Petroleum to develop plans to expand production at the field “as quickly as possible.”
Rasool, the Iraqi military spokesman, said Thursday the military had no plans to capture the nearby Khurmala oilfield, which is located inside the Kurdish region. Its reserves are estimated at 2.8 billion barrels.

Russia, China to stop bid to ‘sabotage’ Iran deal: Lavrov

Updated 18 min 29 sec ago

Russia, China to stop bid to ‘sabotage’ Iran deal: Lavrov

  • Russian FM: Iran agreement “one of the biggest achievements in international diplomacy in recent times"
  • Trump has threatened to abandon the accord unless European capitals agree to supplement it with tougher controls on Iran’s missile program

BEIJING: China and Russia will block any attempts to “sabotage” the Iran nuclear agreement, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday, as US President Donald Trump mulls whether to scrap the deal.

Trump has set a May 12 deadline to “fix” the 2015 accord, which curbs Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief and was the fruit of intense diplomacy involving the US, European powers, Russia and China.

“There are attempts to interfere with the international order upon which the United Nations depends,” Lavrov said after talks with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Beijing.

“We said clearly with China that we will stop attempts to sabotage these agreements that were passed in a UN Security Council resolution,” Lavrov said.

He was speaking on the eve of a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a regional security bloc spearheaded by Moscow and Beijing.

Calling the Iran agreement “one of the biggest achievements in international diplomacy in recent times,” Lavrov said that “revising this document is unacceptable.”

Trump has threatened to abandon the accord unless European capitals agree to supplement it with tougher controls on Iran’s missile program and its future ability to enrich nuclear fuel.

His partners maintain that implementation of the agreement under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is the best way to prevent Tehran from seeking an atomic bomb.

Iran warned Saturday it was ready to “vigorously” resume nuclear enrichment if the US ditches the deal.


Putin visit

Lavrov and his Chinese counterpart also discussed an upcoming visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to China. Putin will travel to China in June and his visit will be in connection with a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Lavrov said.

“Today we focused on preparations for the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to China,” Lavrov said during a press conference in Beijing, after a meeting with China’s top diplomat.

Earlier this month, Putin said he plans to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping several times this year: At the SCO, at a meeting of BRICS countries, at the G-20 Summit and at an Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, TASS cited him as saying.

Also on Monday, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said German and French leaders will urge Trump not to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal since doing so could cause major problems.

Maas was speaking on the sidelines of a meeting of foreign ministers from the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations in Canada, 

He also said the G-7 would formally call on Russia to contribute to solving the crisis in Syria.

Maas said that in upcoming meetings in Washington, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron would urge Trump to stay in the deal. The agreement offered Tehran relief from sanctions in exchange for curbing its nuclear program.

“We believe it is extremely important to uphold this agreement. Were it to fail or the US to drop out, we would not have anything comparable to it and we fear that the situation would significantly deteriorate with everything that goes with it,” he said.