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President Netchirvan Barzani

Rudaw: UN must take threats from rocket attack ‘very seriously’: President Barzani

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani has called on the United Nations and its security council to take the threats from Monday’s rocket attack on Erbil “very seriously” and encourage Baghdad to work with Kurdish and coalition forces to enhance security in the disputed territories.  

“We ask the United Nations and the security council to take the threats of the attack very seriously and work on removing threats to the people of the Kurdistan Region through encouraging the Iraqi government to implement the constitution, especially article 140,” read a statement from Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani on Tuesday. 

The call from President Barzani comes on the day the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) chief Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert will brief the security council on the situation in the country. 

Barzani also called on Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi and the US-led coalition to “resume collaborative mechanisms” with Kurdish forces. 

“The lack of cooperation and the presence of armed forces and groups outside the authority of the federal government have become reasons for tensions in the region and pose a continuous threat to the Kurdistan Region,” he said.

Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution aims to resolve the final status of territories disputed between Erbil and Baghdad, including a referendum on whether the areas should join the Kurdistan Region or remain as part of federal Iraq, which was to be held by 2007. The article has never been implemented. 

Multiple rockets were fired at the Kurdistan Region’s capital of Erbil on Monday night.

One civilian contractor has been confirmed killed. Nine others were injured, including members of the coalition and US military, according to coalition spokesperson Colonel Wayne Marotto.

Marotto said that approximately “14 107mm rockets were launched,” three of which landed within the US air base at Erbil International Airport.

In a message to Rudaw English, Marotto confirmed that four US civilian contractors and one US military personnel suffered concussions as a result of the attack.

Hennis-Plasschaert tweeted about the attack on Tuesday morning. 

International targets in central and southern Iraq have been a site of frequent bombardment by rogue armed groups.

The Kurdistan Region has seen comparatively less rocket fire, with the last attack on Erbil taking place inlate September, when several rockets targeted Erbil’s airport.

Several foreign missions have released statements in light of the attack.

UK ambassador to Iraq Stephen Hickey condemned the attack and said, “Coalition forces are here in Iraq at the invitation of the Iraqi government, in order to fight Daesh,” using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State (ISIS).  

“These attacks terrorise civilians, destabilise Iraq, and undermine the fight against Daesh,” he added.

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