ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The Iraqi military command on Monday denied all claims of the existence of agreements made with Peshmerga to set up borders of the Kurdistan Region and the joint administration in Kirkuk.
The denial came after local news outlets reported that Baghdad and Erbil had reached an agreement to return to pre-2003 borders.
In a statement issued on Monday, Iraq military spokesman Brigadier General Yahya Rasool stated that the military leadership denies finalization of any and all deals made regarding borders between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the federal government of Iraq.
Local news agencies also reported that the KRG and the Iraqi government had struck a deal to set up joint operation centers in the oil-rich disputed province of Kirkuk, but Rasool denied this, too.
Following the rise of the Islamic State (IS) and the collapse of the Iraqi army, Kurdish Peshmerga took charge of protecting Kirkuk and liberated most of the disputed territories that were occupied by the IS.
Disputed territories have been one of the long-standing issues between Erbil and Baghdad.
Iraqi forces and Iran-backed Shia Hashd al-Shaabi militias attacked and took control of the ethnically-diverse province of Kirkuk on Oct. 16, an area which had been under the protection of the Peshmerga since the mid-2014.
Since then, the notion of returning to pre-2003 borders has been brought up by Baghdad officials but has been completely rejected by their KRG counterparts.
Editing by John J. Catherine