MOSCOW, October 16. /TASS/. Russia values relations with both Baghdad and Iraqi Kurdistan, and stands for finding a peaceful political solution to the situation in the region, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
"We definitely stand for resolving all the issues on Iraq’s agenda, involving Baghdad and the Kurds, through peaceful political and diplomatic means, while respecting the legitimate rights and interests of the Kurdish people is necessary," he said.
The Russian presidential spokesman pointed out that Moscow maintained good relations with Baghdad, particularly boosting trade and economic ties. Besides, Russia has always had close relations with the Iraqi Kurds, he added. According to Peskov, Moscow "values both relationships."
On October 9, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who is the Commander-in-Chief of the Iraqi Armed Forces, gave instructions to the government forces to restore security and stability in the Kirkuk province, cooperating with the Kurd Peshmerga units and the local residents. The Iraqi prime minister said earlier that the federal and local forces would control the disputed areas together, under the guidance of the Baghdad authorities.
According to the Iraqi TV, the government forces currently control "a significant part of the Kirkuk province." On October 16, the Alsumaria TV channel reported clashes between Peshmerga fighters and government troops in south Kirkuk. Some sources said that there had been "sporadic fighting" in other areas as well. However, an army spokesman rejected these reports.
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.