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France's Macron says he'll help mediate between Kurds and Iraq after referendum

France's Macron says he'll help mediate between Kurds and Iraq after referendum”

Government forces have retaken the northern town of Hawija from the Islamic State group, one of the militant group's last strongholds in Iraq, the country's prime minister has said.

"We don't want armed confrontation, we don't want clashes but federal authority must prevail", he said after a meeting in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron.

Iraq has responded to the vote by imposing a flight ban on the northern region, while Turkey and Iran have sent troops to the land-locked region's borders to signal their opposition to any redrawing of the map.

Macron said France and others are concerned about the escalating dispute.

"France is ready, if Iraqi authorities wish, to actively contribute to the mediation launched by the United Nations".

France frequently offers to use its diplomatic weight to mediate in world crises.

France has "always been sensitive to the situation of Kurds" but is also committed to stability in Iraq, Macron said, calling for dialogue between Baghdad and Iraqi Kurdistan.

Abadi, in Paris for bilateral talks, said the Iraqis and Kurds had a common interest in maintaining peace.

Iraqi-Kurdish tensions were ratcheted down a notch on Wednesday when the central bank in Baghdad eased financial restrictions imposed after the vote, after receiving a pledge of cooperation from Kurdish banks, an Iraqi banking source said. The Shia-dominated legislature rejected the September 25 referendum, which was held in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region and areas captured by the Kurds since 2014 while battling Daesh.

Haider al-Abadi said in Paris on Thursday that the fight against IS will now focus on the border zone with Syria.

Abadi called on Iraqi and Kurdish forces to work together to avoid conflict following the referendum outcome.

France confirmed a 30 million euro loan for Iraqi reconstruction, and appears eager to play a big economic role in Iraq's future.

"If a decision will be made on closing oil taps in the region, that will be made by us".



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