Abadi calls on Kurdistan govt. to stand committed to Iraq’s unity

Press TV – Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has called on the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to clearly announce its firm committed to the national unity following tensions between Baghdad government and Kurdish authorities over a non-binding Kurdish independence vote.

Abadi, in a statement released by his office on Monday, demanded Kurdish officials abide by the constitution and the decisions of the Federal Supreme Court, and declare their pledge to non-separation or non-independence from Iraq, Arabic-language al-Sumaria television network reported.

The Iraqi prime minister added that there is no provision in the Iraqi constitution that allows secession, stressing that all decisions taken by the central government in Baghdad have been within these constitutional articles and its legitimate powers.

The referendum on secession of the Kurdistan region was held on September 25 despite strong opposition from Iraqi authorities, the international community, and Iraq’s neighboring countries, especially Turkey and Iran.

Kurdish officials break the seals off a ballot box after the closure of polls during the referendum on independence at a polling station in Erbil, the capital of the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, on September 25, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Following the vote, Baghdad imposed a ban on direct international flights to the Kurdish region and called for a halt to its independent crude oil sales.

On October 12, an Iraqi government spokesman said Baghdad had set a series of conditions that the KRG needed to meet before any talks on the resolution of the referendum crisis could start.

“The KRG must first commit to Iraq’s unity. The local authorities in the [Kurdistan] region… must accept the sovereign authority of the federal government on… oil exports, [as well as] security and border protection, including land and air entry points,” the unnamed Iraqi official added.

On October 16, Iraqi federal forces retook control of the Kurdish-held city of Kirkuk.

Abadi has already demanded the annulment of the referendum.

“We won’t accept anything but its cancellation and the respect of the constitution,” he said in a statement on October 26 during a visit to Tehran.