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Iraq warns Kurdistan of involving PKK in Kirkuk dispute

Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar Al-Abadi yesterday warned Kurdish leaders of involving militant's from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in the ongoing dispute over the northern oil-rich city of Kirkuk.

The country's National Security Council views the presence of fighters which are not linked to the government forces as a declaration of war, Al-Abadi said in a statement.

He reiterated Baghdad's position that the federal and local forces under the leadership of the federal authority will manage the affairs of disputed areas.

Meanwhile, the Kurdistan regional government denied the claims that PKK militants have joined the Peshmerga forces in Kirkuk.

Read: Iraq eases financial restrictions on Kurdistan region

Tensions between the Kurdish Peshmerga forces and the Iraqi army have escalated in recent days south of the disputed city of Kirkuk.

The Peshmerga took control of the disputed areas, including Kirkuk city, after the Iraqi Army's withdrawal from them in 2014 during its war against Daesh which controlled large areas north and west of the country.

Last month, the Iraqi Parliament voted in favour of a resolution obliging the federal government to deploy troops in the disputed areas, especially Kirkuk in the wake of Kurdish referendum on separation from Iraq.

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