“We can’t succeed without one another:” PUK and Kirkuk’s Arab Political Council turn over a new leaf

Kirkuk, 9 September 2020 – press conference after a meeting between PUK and the Arab Political Council in Kirkuk – Photo by Soran Muhammed

Soran Mohammed - Kirkuk

The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) stressed that Kurds and Arabs will not succeed in administering Kirkuk Province without each other. Both sides speak of reconciliation.

The PUK and the Arab Political Council (of which the interim governor of Kirkuk Rakan Saeed is a member) met today (9 September 2020) to discuss issues surrounding the administration of Kirkuk Province.

Both sides have experienced it: we can’t succeed in serving Kirkuk without each other

Muhammad Osman, head of PUK’s Kirkuk headquarters, said during a press conference: “Both sides have experienced it: we can’t succeed in serving Kirkuk without each other. That’s why in the meeting we stressed administering the city through cooperation by all its components.”

“We, the PUK, will discuss the content of the meeting with the Kurdistani political parties, and will continue holding [more] meetings with the Arab Political Council. […] We will try to meet with the Turkmen and Christians as well.”

Hatim Ta’i, the spokesperson for Arab Political Council, said during the press conference: “We have discussed the issue of the detainees and requested the issue to be resolved completely. The first steps had been taken with the initiative from the PUK, and some of them were released, which has had a big [positive] effect on our relations.”

The PUK has transferred more than 200 Arab detainees from Sulaymania prisons to Kirkuk prisons this year, in a number of stages. Some of them were detained after the fall of the Ba’th regime in 2003, and others during the ISIS war after 2014.

During the meeting, the Arab Political Council in Kirkuk has requested the releasing process to continue. According to their numbers, there are about 1000 detainees.

The question whether the Peshmerga Forces would return to Kirkuk or not was also discussed during the meeting. Ta’i said: “The participation of the Peshmerga as a force within the Iraqi defense in securing Kirkuk is a good thing, with the condition they remain deployed outside Kirkuk City.”

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