(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) By John Keating PARIS, Oct 13 (KUNA) -- France on Friday urged restraint on all sides in a potentially volatile standoff between the Iraqi Government and the Kurdish authorities over the oil-rich Kirkuk region, diplomats indicated.
Kirkuk is legally under Iraqi federal authority but is currently under Kurdish control and France is anxious that the differences between the two parties be resolved through dialogue.
Reports on Friday said that there was a claim by Kurdish forces that Iraq was planning a military operation in Kirkuk, a report denied by Baghdad, but Kurdish regional authorities noted they were sending military reinforcements to the zone.
A French Foreign Ministry diplomat, who requested anonymity, told KUNA that Paris was "attentively watching the situation." He said France "reiterates its call for dialogue and calls all parties to refrain from any gesture likely to stoke tensions." France recognizes Iraq's full sovereignty over its territory and has issued several statements in support of Iraqi territorial integrity, saying a solution to the differences must be found within the Iraqi Constitution.
Paris has additionally said the rights of the Kurds must be taken into consideration in the future solution to this issue. (end) jk.msa