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Iraqi Government Responds to PM Barzani’s Call on Disputed Areas

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The Iraqi government on Wednesday responded to Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani’s call to prevent the unlawful confiscation of Kurdish agricultural lands by non-indigenous Arabs in the disputed province of Kirkuk.

Iraq’s Ministry of Justice has officially ordered the local administrations in Kirkuk, Nineveh, Salahaddin, Diyala, Najaf, Karbala, and Anbar not to recognize the agricultural contracts made during Saddam Hussein’s Baath regime.

Earlier this week, several dozens of Arab families from southern Iraq stormed the Kurdish villages in Kirkuk’s Palkana area and threatened to seize the farmlands belonging to the Kurds, arguing that the have contracts with the former government of Iraq.

Following the reports, Kurdistan Region Prime Minister issued a statement on Tuesday to condemn the violations against the indigenous Kurdish population of the disputed areas, saying this can constitute to systematic demographic change as part of the Arabization campaign first invented by Saddam Hussein.

The Iraqi justice ministry referred to article 140 from the Constitution, which clearly states that all agricultural lands are terminated and the ownership of the lands in question will go back to those who owned them before the contracts.
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