iraqi government rejects independence kurdistan region


Iraqi government rejects independence of Kurdistan Region


Kurdish Peshmerga forces celebrate Newroz Day, a festival marking spring and the new year, in Kirkuk March 20, 2017. REUTERS/Ako Rasheed

ARA News

The Iraqi government said on Friday that any unilateral move by the Kurdistan Region towards independence would be rejected by Baghdad.

This comes just two days after the president of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Masoud Barzani, announced September 25 as a referendum day on Kurdish independence.

“No party can, on its own, decide the fate of Iraq, in isolation from the other parties,” said Saad al-Haddithi, Iraqi government spokesman.

“Iraq is constitutionally a democratic, federal country with full sovereignty … Any measure from any side in Iraq should be based on the constitution,” Haddithi said.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi reportedly said in April that he respected the Kurdish right to vote on independence, but he did not think the timing was right for the move.

Hemin Hawrami, the senior assistant to President Masoud Barzani, said that the referendum will include the so-called disputed territories that have been mostly controlled by the Kurdish Peshmerga forces since June 2014, after the Iraqi army fled ISIS offensives in Mosul, despite setbacks in August 2014, when ISIS attacked and took Sinjar and other areas, which have almost all been taken back since last year, apart from south Sinjar.

“Referendum on 25/9/2017 is for Iraqi Kurdistan including Kirkuk, Khanaqin, Sinjar and Makhmour,” Hawrami said on Wednesday.

Both Turkey and Iran have opposed an independence referendum, however, the Iraqi Kurds say that the regional countries should not interfere in the region’s affairs.

“When we talk about a referendum, we talk about Kurdistan in Iraq only,” KRG’s foreign relations chief Falah Mustafa Bakir said, in a message to the neighbouring countries that have their own Kurdish populations, and fear Kurdish independence will inspire their own Kurds to seek more independence.

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