Iraq insists no talks with Kurdistan after referendum

 Iraq insists no talks with Kurdistan after referendum

Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi. File photo.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi. File photo.

Baghdad ( Iraq has reiterated it rejects dialogue with Kurdistan Region’s government after the announcement of results of a referendum the region holds for independence from Iraq.

In a televised address late Monday, shortly after referendum polls closed, Iraqi premier Haider al-Abadi said his country was not ready to discuss or hold dialogue around results of the referendum because it was “unconstitutional” and “illegitimate”.

“Our forces are fighting on the ground and have never diverted to secondary issues like the referendum,” expressing astonishment that “despite those sacrifices, some want to thrust the region in sedition”. Abadi was referring to his government forces’ three-year-old campaign against Islamic State militants who had taken over large areas of Iraq.

“We will not going to impose a status quo, and will rather resort to the constitution,” Abadi said, pointing to a recent ruling by the country’s top court which ordered to cancel the referendum.

Kurds went to polling stations in Erbil and other areas disputed with Baghdad on Monday responding to a call from the political leadership to vote on independence from Iraq, with observers widely predicting a “yes” vote.

Kurdistan gained actual autonomous governance based on the 2005 constitution, but is still considered a part of Iraq. The region was created in 1970 based on an agreement with the Iraqi government, ending years of conflicts.

Baghdad and Erbil have for long disputed sovereignty over a number of regions, most notably the oil-rich province of Kirkuk, besides contending over petroleum exports’ revenues from those regions.

Baghdad has repeatedly vowed to take legal action if Erbil proceeded with the vote.

Kurdish President Masud Barzani has frequently stressed that partnership with the Arab-led government in Baghdad was over, but said there would be dialogue with that government after the referendum.

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