SOCHI, October 16. /TASS/. Armed clashes between the Peshmerga units of Iraqi Kurdistan and the Iraqi army conflict with the interests of the Iraqi people, and Russia views them negatively, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday.
"Our position towards the clashes is negative," Lavrov said at the first Global forum of young diplomats during the Festival of Youth and Students in Sochi. "We believe this runs counter to the interests of all the Iraqi people."
Earlier in the day, Al Sumaria TV channel reported about armed clashes between the Peshmerga units and the government forces in the south of Kirkuk city. Sources said sporadic shooting was also heard in other areas. A spokesman for the Iraqi army denied the reports about clashes.
Last Monday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ordered the government forces to restore security and stability in the Kirkuk province jointly with Peshmerga and in cooperation with the local population.
According to Iraqi television, at the moment the government forces control a significant part of the Kirkuk province.
"We will continue encouraging the parties to try and come to an agreement on how to move on, taking into account all the aspects of the current situation in the country, as well as in the region," the Russian top diplomat said. "Apart from Iraq, the Kurdish issue also concerns Iran, Syria and Turkey. For the sake of regional stability, it is important to find a solution suitable for all, as there are already enough irritants in the region," Lavrov added.
The Russian foreign minister also said that Moscow stood for achieving an early agreement "on the future co-existence of all those living in Iraq." "Unfortunately, in the past, there were not enough efforts to resolve two major issues concerning the use of oil revenues and the status of Kirkuk, which still remain pending," Lavrov noted. "Delaying these issues did not contribute to the stable development of the Iraqi state," he added.
On September 25, a referendum on independence took place in Iraqi Kurdistan. According to the Kurdish Election Commission, more than 90% of those taking part in the plebiscite voted in favor of seceding from Iraq. Iraq’s neighboring states Iran and Turkey, as well as many other countries, opposed the referendum.