US State Department urges Kurdish parties to work for united Iraq

Baghdad urges Peshmerga to withdraw to pre-2003 borders

KRG president Barzani to step down

Chief of Ibrahim Khalil border crossing, Samal Abdulrahman, told Rudaw he hadn't been contacted by Iraqi or Turkish authorities regarding any changes and that Kurdistan Regional Government was still in control of the checkpoint.

An Iraqi official showed Reuters pictures of the Iraqi flag being raised at the border gate, where Iraqi and Turkish soldiers were deployed and Turkish flags also hoisted. Baghdad has demanded that all border control revert to federal authorities and has banned all global flights to and from the Kurdish region.

It urged Iraq and the KRG "to work urgently to resolve pending issues under the Iraqi constitution".

The Iraqi government seeks control of all travel in and out of Kurdistan - part of a strategy to remove power from Kurdistan's autonomous government.

He also lambasted rival Kurdish political parties and said they were guilty of "treason", referring to the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, a party that opponents say struck a deal with Baghdad to withdraw Kurdish forces from the disputed oil-rich city of Kirkuk.

Baghdad is also demanding control of all border crossings with Turkey and Iran.

"As a Peshmerga, I will continue to be at the service of our people".

The semi-autonomous KRG has been struggling to pay the Peshmerga and its employees since 2014, after Baghdad stopped payments to it because of a dispute about oil-sharing revenue.

The split between the Kurds and the Iraqi central government is a particular challenge for Washington, which is closely allied to both sides.

"They (Baghdad) used the referendum as an excuse". Masoud Barzani held the referendum "for his own pride".

The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) has said it hopes that the situation in northern Iraq will normalize as Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Masoud Barzani has chose to step down.

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