Iraq govt forces in control of all 'disputed' areas: PM

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The televised speech marked a melancholic denouement for the Kurdish leader, weeks after he defied worldwide and regional opposition to an independence poll held in Kurdish-majority provinces as well as in territories in dispute between Baghdad and Irbil, the capital of the Kurdish region.

The northern Iraq border crossing was previously operated on the Iraqi side by the Kurdistan Regional Government.

"Without the peshmerga the Iraqi army would never have been able to liberate the city of Mosul", he continued, referring to Iraqi Kurdish fighters.

The decision comes just weeks after a referendum on independence, which was led by President Masoud Barzani.

"We were enjoying lots of powers that were sovereign powers, like having control over border crossings, control over the airport and we had our direct diplomacy with the worldwide community".

Kurdish presidential elections scheduled to be held in November have been postponed indefinitely.

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Tension has mounted between Baghdad and the KRG since September 25, when the latter held an illegitimate referendum on Kurdish regional independence.

"Only their faces have changed", Barzani said repeatedly of Iraq's post-2003 central government in Baghdad while campaigning for the referendum.

He added that Iraq and the Kurdistan Region have been "staunch allies of the United Kingdom in recent years as we have jointly fought the scourge of the Islamic State (IS) in the region".

Iraqi troops were ordered by the country's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to seize disputed areas claimed by both Baghdad and the Kurdish government. He said "a committee is overseeing the redeployment of federal forces to areas taken under the control of the Kurdish region after 2003", the year of the US -led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

But When Barzani made clear his intention to hold the referendum, al-Abadi, backed by regional and western allies, immediately took a hard line.

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