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Dec 2, 8:56 AM EST

France backs new negotiations between Baghdad and Kurds

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PARIS (AP) -- French President Emmanuel Macron says France will "do everything" to help preserve Iraq's unity and the recognition of the rights of Iraq's Kurds through new negotiations.

Macron met Saturday in Paris with the prime minister of Iraq's Kurdish region, Nechirvan Barzani, amid a political and military standoff between the self-ruled northern Kurdish region and Baghdad since an independence referendum for the region.

In a joint news conference with Macron, Barzani said he is "ready to discuss" with Baghdad and agrees on a shared control between Kurdish and Baghdadi authorities over Iraq's borders with Turkey and Syria.

Last month, Iraq's top court paved the way for the Kurdish region to step back from its controversial independence referendum and annul the vote's results that overwhelmingly backed secession from Iraq.

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