Kurds, Iraqi government in talks on disputed areas

Officials from the semiautonomous Kurdish administration began talks Friday in Baghdad with the central government about control of disputed areas near the borders of the self-ruled Kurdish region. Jaffar Mustafa, the defense minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government, said the talks focused on the standoff between Kurdish peshmerga troops and Iraqi soldiers in Diyala province. Last week, tension ran high when Kurdish fighters were ordered by the central government to leave Qara Tappah, a mostly Shiite Turkoman town outside the Kurdish-ruled region. But peshmerga officers refused to withdraw, saying they only take orders from the Kurdish regional government. Mustafa said that during Friday's talks both sides reached an agreement to pull the Kurdish unit out of the town within 10 days.