Acting governor of Kirkuk Rakan Saeed al-Jiburi described the administrative procedures issued concerning disputed Palkana village northwest of the province as legal saying that some of those who currently live there are originally from the Iranian predominantly Kurdish province of Mahabad.
However, al-Jiburi called for reconciliation and considered the partnership with the patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) as successful.
The acting governor’s comments came at a news conference on Sunday May 19, also attended by KirkukNow correspondent, in which he outlined the Kirkuk administrations’s latest stance on a range of issues including the tensions which broke out last week in Palkana over land ownership claims.
The Issue of Palkana Village
In regard to Palkana village, Rakan al-Jiburi said, “The residents of the village are from the Arab Shammar tribe. The village is associated with Dubiz district which is not included by article 140 of the constitution. The court earlier ordered the return of these agricultural lands to this tribe and now they have contracts.”
He added that “out of the 13 families settled in Palkana, seven of them are from Iranian Mahabad province, two from Makhmur, 2 from Erbil along with some displaced families from Syria. They are occupying houses of indigenous residents of the village.”
Al-Jiburi indicated that an agreement was earlier forged regarding Palkana’s disputed agricultural lands saying that “anyone has a right can resort to the court.”
He also called for a government or parliamentary committee to be sent to follow up on the issue.
On Tuesday, May 14, 2019 dozens of Arabs from the Shammar tribe stormed Palkan village and asked the Kurdish residents of the village to leave. Both sides claim ownership of agricultural lands in the area.
Local administration’s relations with political parties in Kirkuk
The acting governor of Kirkuk emphasized that they the administration maintains good relations with the PUK describing the main Kurdish political party as a successful partner.
The PUK has been persistently attempting to reclaim the post if Kirkuk governor from al-Jiburi, however its efforts were in vain.
Al-Jiburi said there is a “mutual understanding among the different components of Kirkuk concerning distribution of administrative posts”, adding that negotiations with both the PUK and the Kurdistan Democratic party (KDP) are underway to resolve pending issues.
The KDP evacuated all its offices in Kirkuk following the October 16, 2017 events, stressing that it will not return until the situation there is normalized.
In his press conference, al-Jiburi said “this year’s budget plan includes significant service projects”, and he asked the provincial council to approve the plan.
The provincial council has been unable to convene to discuss the budget plan due to the lack of quorum, as KDP members of the council continue to boycott the sessions.
The acting governor says the approval of the budget is critical to resume service projects in the province.