With Kirkuk retaken, Iraq PM Abadi says Kurdistan referendum is “history”

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. File photo.

Baghdad ( Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Tuesday that Kurdistan Region’s September referendum, which backed separation from Iraq, has now become “history”.

Speaking during his weekly cabinet meeting, Abadi made the statements hours after Iraq’s military command said its troops had taken full control over Kirkuk province’s main oil fields, military bases, and government buildings as part of an operation ordered by him to retake areas where sovereignty is disputed with Kurdistan region.

“The referendum is now over, and has become history,” said Abadi, referring to the vote which has sparked a political crisis and lately the Iraqi incursion in Kirkuk. “I now call for dialogue under the umbrella of the constitution”, he said.

Baghdad has rejected dialogue with Kurdistan before the latter disowns referendum results. Erbil had said 92% of voters backed independence from Iraq.

Regarding the situation in Kirkuk, Abadi stressed that “Iraqi forces will not engage into infighting”, adding that “any assault on Kurds is an assault on us”. He said his government would “soon declare the liberation of all Iraqi territories and clearing the borderline with Syria”.

Concerning press reports telling of a deal with Kurdistan Region to split Kirkuk into several administrations to be run jointly by Baghdad and Erbil, Abadi denied the notion outrightly.


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