Washington is concerned by reported violence near Kirkuk and urges Iraqi and Kurdish authorities to avoid provocations that can be exploited to fuel ethnic and sectarian conflict in the region, U.S. Department of State spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a release on Monday.
“We are working with officials from the central and regional governments to reduce tensions, avoid further clashes, and encourage dialogue,” Ms. Nauert said. “We strongly urge all parties to avoid provocations that can be exploited by Iraq’s enemies who are interested in fueling ethnic and sectarian conflict.”
On Sunday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ordered an operation to retake federal sites in Kirkuk from the Kurdistan Regional Government control. Several people have reportedly been keeled in the clashes between the two sides.
Iraqi military commanders have said Baghdad had taken control of an industrial district on the west Kirkuk, a military airport and a power plant along with an oil refinery outside the city.
Ms. Nauert said Washington supports “the peaceful exercise of joint administration by the central and regional governments…in all disputed areas.”