AP News

Iraq: Baghdad, Kurds agree to ease tensions

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq's president says the central government and Kurdish leaders have reached a deal to ease a military standoff that began last month.

A statement issued by President Jalal Talabani's office Thursday says the accord between leaders in Baghdad and the self-rule Kurdish region would eventually lead to the withdrawal of both sides' military forces from disputed northern areas.

Under the plan, local residents would oversee their own security.

The deal appears to firm up a preliminary agreement announced by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki last week. Talabani gave no timetable for the deal to be implemented.

Tensions between Baghdad and the Kurds spiked following a decision by al-Maliki to form a new military command to oversee security forces bordering the self-ruled Kurdish region. The Kurds say the move was unconstitutional.

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