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Pakistan calls northern Iraq referendum illegitimate

PAKISTAN CALLS NORTHERN IRAQ REFERENDUM ILLEGITIMATE

Pakistan on Monday expressed deep concern over the recently held referendum in northern Iraq, calling it a controversial move that violates Iraqi constitution and lacks legitimacy.

In a statement, the Foreign Ministry spokesman said Pakistan fully supports Iraq's unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The referendum violates the Iraqi constitution and, therefore, "lacks any legitimacy", the spokesman said.

"It also presents a challenge to peace and security of Iraq, and the entire region," he added.

Pakistan joins Iraq and its neighbors, along with the international community, in its opposition to the referendum, he said.

"We reaffirm our full support for the government and people of Iraq. We are deeply concerned at attempts aimed at threatening the territorial integrity of Iraq or any other country in the region," he said.

Turkey has also questioned the legitimacy of the referendum.

On Sunday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reiterated that the illegitimate referendum was against the Iraqi constitution.

"We will never turn a blind eye to unrest well beyond our borders which will create a permanent threat both for Iraqi and Turkish nations and the countries in the region," Erdogan said in an opening speech at the Turkish parliament's third legislative session.

He said Turkey would never allow any threat against the historical Turkmen city of Kirkuk, which is one of the territories disputed between the central Iraqi government and Kurdish Regional Government.

The illegitimate poll on Sept. 25 saw Iraqis in KRG-controlled areas -- and in a handful of territories disputed between Erbil and Baghdad, including ethnically mixed Kirkuk and Mosul -- vote on whether to declare independence from Iraq's central government.

According to preliminary figures released by the KRG, almost 93 percent of voters cast ballots in favor of independence from Baghdad.

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