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US ‘not taking sides’ between Iraqi forces, Kurds: Trump

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Washington is “not taking sides” following clashes between Iraqi forces and the country’s Kurds, US President Donald Trump said Monday, as tensions escalate following the autonomous Kurdish region’s independence referendum.

“We’re not taking sides, but we don’t like the fact that they’re clashing,” Trump told journalists. “We’ve had for many years a very good relationship with the Kurds.”

“We’ve also been on the side of Iraq,” he said, “but we’re not taking sides in that battle.”

US ‘very concerned’ by violence around Kirkuk

The US State Department said on Monday Washington was “very concerned” by reports of violence around the Iraqi oil city of Kirkuk, which was seized by Baghdad’s forces from Kurds.

“We are monitoring the situation closely and call on all parties to coordinate military activities and restore calm,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

(With Reuters)