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Iraqi PM: Kurdistan Referendum Illegal, Big Mistake

1 August 2017 18:28

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi underscored serious opposition to Kurdistan region’s bid to arrange a referendum for independence, describing it as illegal and a big mistake.

“The referendum for independence of the (Kurdistan) region is a very big mistake which is not legal and will bear no positive results and instead will add to the existing problems and therefore, we are strongly opposed to it,” al-Abadi told MNA on Tuesday.

Stressing that the Iraqi officials should move in line with people’s interests, he said that “separating from Iraq’s integrated government will not be to the benefit of our Kurdish citizens”.

Al-Abadi underlined that there is no opposition to the federalization of Iraq based on the constitution, and doubted if even one single problem of Kurdistan would be solved through separation from the central government.

In relevant remarks last month, Iraq’s former National Security Adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie warned of the dire consequences of arranging a referendum in the Iraqi Kurdistan region, and said only Israel and Saudi Arabia agree with this plan.

“All the world states, from the EU and the US to the Middle-East countries, oppose the referendum for independence in the Kurdistan region and only Saudi Arabia and Israel have agreed with it to be used as a pressure leverage against Baghdad,” al-Rubaie, now a senior Iraqi parliamentarian, was quoted as saying by al-Mayadeen news channel.

Also in July, Head of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI) Ammar al-Hakim underlined the necessity for unity among all Iraqi groups and people, and said he sees a referendum for independence in the Kurdistan region as a harmful blow to the entire nation.

“I believe that Iraq’s unity is of vital importance because first it has been stated in the country’s Constitution and second, the Iraqis’ interests depend on this unity and the consequences of distorting this unity will not be limited to a specific region and will start a domino,” Hakim told FNA.

“In such conditions, we will endeavor to convince our partners in the Kurdistan region that this decision will harm Kurdistan and the entire Iraq because our power lies in our unity,” he added.

Hakim said that he and his colleagues have consulted with certain regional and world states to dissuade the Kurdish officials from holding the referendum, warning that Iraq’s welfare and success will be endangered be the move.

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