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UN Downplays Kurdish Push for Independence, Says Balad Held by Iraq

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 25 -- When the UN's Iraq envoy Nickolay Mladenov took questions by video from UNAMI Baghdad on June 25, Inner City Press asked him about independence for Kurdistan, and if ISIL might take over the Balad airbase and with it, an air force.

On the Balad air base, Mladenov said the government is still in control and will invest whatever is necessary to hold onto it.

Mladenov claimed that in Erbil and Baghdad “there is a realization that cooperation must be restored” to fight ISIL. He referred to “emotional talk” in both cities or regions.

Meanwhile militia spokesman Abu Waris Musawi said “we have rockets capable of reaching the center of Erbil city,” on al-Anwar TV on June 22.

Jabbar Yawar, secretary general of the Peshmerga ministry, replied “we do not listen to these threats and the Kurdistan Regional Government has its own strategy for protecting the Kurdistan Region.”

With US Secretary of State John Kerry in Erbil on June 24, at the US State Department briefing the deputy spokesperson was asked why the US doesn't provide arms to the Kurdish peshmerga, transcript here. We'll have more on this.


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