Iraq president blames Kurdish poll for Kirkuk assault

Iraqi President Fuad Masum (L) meets with Iraqi Kurdish president Massud Barzani at the house of late Iraqi president Jalal Talabani in Dokan, some 70 kilometres northwest of Sulaimaniyah. (AFP)
Updated 17 October 2017

Iraq president blames Kurdish poll for Kirkuk assault

BAGHDAD: Iraqi President Fuad Masum on Tuesday blamed a Kurdish independence referendum for triggering a military intervention by Iraqi forces to take control of the disputed province of Kirkuk.
“Holding a referendum on the Kurdistan region’s independence from Iraq stirred grave disagreements between the central government and the government of Kurdistan,” Masum, himself a Kurd, said in a televised address.
That “led to federal security forces retaking direct control of Kirkuk,” he said.
Iraqi Kurds voted overwhelmingly on September 25 for independence from Baghdad.
Regional president Masoud Barzani had pushed ahead with the poll in defiance of Baghdad, Washington and Iraq’s neighboring states.
Masum, who belongs to a rival Kurdish party long at odds with Barzani, said the central government had made “strenuous efforts to reach a solution.”
But, he said, a “grave crisis... broke out between the federal government and the government of Iraqi Kurdistan because the latter insisted on unilaterally holding the referendum.”


Lebanon struggles to restore normality amid protests

Anti-government protesters shout slogans against the Lebanese government in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019. (AP)
Updated 30 sec ago

Lebanon struggles to restore normality amid protests

  • The ISG urged Lebanese authorities to address people’s complaints, demanding “structural reforms and responsible and acceptable social changes that truly curb corruption and waste, away from sectarianism

BEIRUT: Lebanese banks will remain closed in light of nationwide protests for the fifth consecutive day, the Association of Banks in Lebanon announced.
However, Banque du Liban, the country’s central bank, on Tuesday provided banks with money from their deposits in order to meet citizens’ needs.
Meanwhile, Education Minister Akram Chehayeb ordered all schools and universities to resume classes on Wednesday “in order to preserve the interests of students and to preserve the academic year.”
Prime Minister Saad Hariri met with the International Support Group (ISG) for Lebanon, which includes envoys from the US, Russia, France, Britain, Germany, Italy, the EU, China and the Arab League, as well as the UN special coordinator for Lebanon, Jan Kubis.
The ISG urged Lebanese authorities to address people’s complaints, demanding “structural reforms and responsible and acceptable social changes that truly curb corruption and waste, away from sectarianism.”
Such changes, it said, should “ensure proper governance and full accountability, and lead to sustainable and stable growth.”

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International Support Group urges govt to implement ‘structural reforms.’

Kubis said Hariri “committed that the government and its legitimate security forces will continue to protect civilians who are demonstrating peacefully, and will take appropriate measures against any possible violent incitement, to protect public and private property and institutions, and the people’s right to peacefully express their views.”
On behalf of the ISG, Kubis urged “officials and political actors in Lebanon to listen to the legitimate demands of the people, work with them on solutions, apply them, and refrain from any statements and acts that could inflame tensions and incite confrontation and violence.”
After meeting Hariri, Kuwait’s ambassador to Lebanon, Abdel Aal Al-Kinai, said: “Now is not the time to speak but to act.”