French President Emmanuel Macron has called on all parties in Iraq to dismantle militias, including the government-backed Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF).
Macron made the comments in Paris on December 2 during a meeting with Iraqi Kurdish region Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani and his deputy, Qubad Talabani.
Macron called for talks between Kurds and Baghdad to resolve tensions that spiked after Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region held an independence referendum on September 25.
"It is essential that there is a gradual demilitarization, in particular of the Popular Mobilization Forces which established themselves in the last few years in Iraq," Macron said, "and that all militias be gradually dismantled."
The Iraqi government has denied allegations that the Iran-backed PMF has engaged in systematic human rights abuses.
Macron also called for the implementation of the part of the Iraqi Constitution that was intended to settle the status of territories disputed by Baghdad and the Kurdish region through a referendum.
The meeting with Macron was the most high-profile diplomatic reception Iraqi Kurdish leaders have had since the September referendum.
Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP