The final session of talks on preparing for Kurdish autonomy in the North of Iraq ended in Baghdad on Monday (24 September 1973).
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DELEGATES SEATED; VARIOUS DELEGATES SPEAKING; VARIOUS SHOTS OF MR. SADDAM HUSSEIN LISTENING.
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Background: The final session of talks on preparing for Kurdish autonomy in the North of Iraq ended in Baghdad on Monday (24 September 1973). The Iraqi Vice-President, Mr. Saddam Hussein, said that what mattered most in achieving autonomy for the Kurds was not new laws, but mutual trust between Kurds and Arabs.
The meetings began earlier this month, and were organised by the leadership of the Baath Party. The aim was to formulate a draft plan for Kurdish autonomy which would be approved by the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP). The Baathist move followed the Government's rejection of a draft plan put forward by the KDP, which Government leaders described as tantamount to Kurdish secession from Iraq.
Mr. Hussein told the meeting on Monday that the Government was determined to go ahead with plans for autonomy within Iraqi unity. In an apparent attempt to please the Kurdish delegation he referred to "Iraq's Kurdistan". The word Kurdistan is used by the Kurds when referring to the areas where they want self-rule, and Government officials have previously avoided using it.
The two sides still disagree on the boundaries of the proposed Kurdistan. The Kurds want to include the Kirkuk District which has rich oil fields, but the Baghdad Government refuses. The Government has promised, however, that the Kurds will be autonomous by next March, the deadline set by the 1970 agreement, which brought an end to a decade of Kurdish wars.
SYNOPSIS: In the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, the final session of talks on preparing a draft plan for giving autonomy to the Kurdish people, came to an end on Monday. The Baathist Government in Baghdad had promised that the Kurds will be autonomous by next March, but they cannot agree on boundaries with the Kurdish Democratic Party.
Mr. Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi Vice-President, told the meeting that the Government was determined to introduce Kurdish autonomy within Iraqi unity. In an apparent attempt to please the Kurds, he referred to "Iraq's Kurdistan". Previously Government officials have avoided using the word Kurdistan, which the Kurds use when referring to the areas where they went self-rule. But, he said, mutual trust would be more important than new laws.
The major point of disagreement still centres on the Kirkuk district, which has rich oil fields. The Kurds want it included in the proposed Kurdistan, but so far the Baghdad Government has refused. Some observers think that autonomy in March may not materialise.