BAGHDAD/ERBIL - Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, seeking to up the pressure in a stand-off with Iraq's Kurdish region, said on Tuesday he would act soon over border areas under Kurdish control but predicted his government's forces would regain them without violence.
The central government in Baghdad has cracked down hard on the Kurds since the government of the Kurdish autonomous region staged an independence referendum on Sept. 25 that Baghdad considers illegal.
The Iraqi armed forces have threatened to resume military operations against the Kurds, accusing them of delaying the handover of control of borders and taking advantage of negotiations to bolster their defenses.
"We will regain control on border areas without escalation. But our patience will run out. We will not wait forever. We will take action," Abadi said at a news conference.
The independence vote defied the central government in Baghdad -- which had ruled the ballot illegal -- as well as neighboring Turkey and Iran which have their own Kurdish minorities.
Abadi spoke a few hours after the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) announced a concession to Iraq's central government by saying it would accept a court decision prohibiting the region from seceding.