Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) Kurdistan News: Kurdistan Region’s parliament has fired back at Iraqi Vice President Nouri al-Maliki after remarks he made on Israeli support of the region’s planned referendum on independence from Iraq.
Following a meeting with U.S. ambassador to Baghdad, Douglas A. Silliman, Maliki said in a statement that the referendum, slated for September 25th has to be “cancelled or postponed for being unconstitutional,” adding that the controversial vote does not serve Iraqis’ or Kurds’ interests.
“We will not allow the establishment of another Israel in northern Iraq,” he said in the statement. He was presumably alluding to Tel Aviv’s open, official support for the anticipated poll.
Reacting to the statements, Kurdish parliament’s deputy speaker Jaafar Imniki said in a statement that Maliki’s remarks “come from a unique dictator who is the source of all atrocities and tragedies that had befallen Iraqis,” as he put it.
“As for Israel, it had not killed as many Arabs as did al-Maliki during his sad years in power…Israel has done nothing against Kurdistan,” Imniki said.
Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu had said his country had a “positive attitude” towards Kurds’ secession plans.
Maliki has been a vocal opponent to the referendum.
Kurdistan Region slated a vote on independence from the central government in Baghdad for September 25th, and has, since then, defied calls from Baghdad to postpone the measure. Baghdad’s government has warned against the move repeatedly, with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi warning of an army intervention if a “yes” vote results in violence.
Kurdistan gained official 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.
Earlier this month, the Iraqi parliament voted against Kurdish secession plans.