Iraqi premier vows commitment to strong Turkey ties

Iraq remains committed to continuing its cooperation in various areas with Turkey, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Tuesday.

Speaking at a news conference in capital Baghdad, al-Abadi said: "We would like to continue our relations [in several areas] including border control, bilateral trade relations and oil shipments, especially from Mosul and Kirkuk."

He said ties between Turkey and Iraq were expanding, and both countries remain in "big cooperation".

He added the construction of an oil pipeline to Ceyhan port would be completed soon.

Regarding the crisis with the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq, al-Abadi slammed the regional Kurdish ally for failing to comply with the Iraqi central government's requirements.

He said Peshmerga forces must retreat to the border as it was before 2013, and hand over control of border, customs gates and airports to the central governments.

He said the KRG should be held responsible for the $7.5 billion revenue collected from customs and oil exports in 2017.

In the immediate wake of the KRG's illegitimate Sept. 25, 2017, poll, federal forces moved into parts of Iraq "disputed" between the central government and the KRG, including the oil-rich Kirkuk province.

Baghdad, meanwhile, continues to demand the annulment of the referendum's results.

The KRG now hopes to hold talks with the Iraqi government -- under UN auspices and without preconditions -- with a view to resolving their outstanding differences.

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