Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) Iraqi Vice President Nouri al-Maliki has called for politically and economically boycotting Iraqi Kurdistan over the region’s efforts to seek independence from the central government in Baghdad.
Meeting Tuesday with the Italian ambassador in Baghdad, Marco Carnelos, Maliki said any initiative for dialogue with the Kurdistan government “should take place after proponents of the referendum give up that unconstitutional scheme which targets Iraq’s integrity”, according to a statement by his media office.
“Kurdistan’s referendum will have catastrophic impacts on Iraq and the region,”Maliki stated.
Maliki has been a fierce opponent to Kurdish secession. As Kurds headed to vote in the referendum on Monday, he said the poll was “a declaration of war on Iraqis’ unity”.
“We will not allow the establishment of another Israel in northern Iraq,” he said in the statement earlier this month. He was presumably alluding to Tel Aviv’s open, official support for the anticipated poll.
Holding the vote has triggered a regional outcry, with Baghdad demanding world countries to approach it regarding airports and borders controlled by Erbil. Iran closed aviation with Kurdistan, and has also warned that holding the referendum would mean a closure of borders with Kurdistan and an abrogation of security cooperation. Turkish President Recep Erdogan also threatened on Tuesday of economic sanctions on Kurdistan that would make its citizens “starve”, including a blocking of oil pipelines and cross-border trade.