Kurdish referendum’s enactment ‘hinges on dialogue’
Implementing the results of last month's independence referendum in a timely matter depends on "constructive and responsible dialogue" with Baghdad, the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) said Wednesday.
Last month, the KRG held a controversial referendum on whether to declare independence from Iraq, with Iraq and its neighbors denouncing it as illegitimate.
In a statement released on the KRG's official website, the Kurdish administration said Erbil was ready for dialogue with Baghdad "without any preconditions".
The statement also said the sanctions imposed by the Iraqi central government in retaliation to the referendum were "unconstitutional" and that exacerbating tensions would benefit nobody.
On Sept. 25, Iraqis in areas controlled by the KRG and in areas disputed between Baghdad and Erbil, the KRG's administrative capital, voted on whether to declare independence from Iraq's central government.
According to poll results announced by the KRG, almost 93 percent of those who cast ballots voted in favor of independence.
The illegitimate referendum had faced strong opposition from most regional and international actors, including the U.S., Turkey and Iran, who had warned that the poll would distract from Iraq's fight against terrorism and further destabilize the region.
Along with a raft of other retaliatory measures, Iraq's Council of Ministers on Monday said legal procedures were now under way against all KRG employees involved in conducting the regional poll.
In the referendum's immediate aftermath, Baghdad also moved to ban all international flights into KRG-controlled areas and closed all foreign diplomatic missions based in the region.