Baghdad, Jul 7: US Army General Ray Odierno said " If the tensions between Kurds and Arabs haven't eased by the time US troops leave Iraq in 2011, then the UN peacekeeping forces may be posted in the territories."
Addressing a press conference in Baghdad on Wednesday, Jul 7, Odierno said, " UN peacekeepers might be one option if Kurdish soldiers haven't integrated into the Arab dominated Iraqi army over the next year."
"The troops might be needed to help maintain peace between Iraqi national and Kurdish regional forces. If Kurdish troops are working well within the Iraqi army, then we'll let them do it, but its too early to tell," said Odierno.
Tensions between oil rich land in Iraq's north have been simmering for years without resolution. Iraq's Kurds want several areas of Ninevah, Tamim and Diyala provinces to be part of their autonomous region which is opposed by the Arab central government.
Under a security agreement between Washington and Baghdad,
US President Barack Obama has ordered the withdrawal of all combat forces from Iraq by the end of 2011, with 50,000 troops to remain.