US ‘disappointed’ with Kurd region poll: Ambassador
U.S. Ambassador to Baghdad Douglas Silliman on Thursday voiced Washington's "disappointment" over last week's illegitimate referendum in northern Iraq's Kurdish region.
At a press conference held in the Iraqi capital, Silliman said last week's poll, which was held by northern Iraq's Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), would have an adverse effect on Iraq's ongoing fight against the Daesh terrorist group.
He went on to urge both Baghdad and Erbil (the KRG's administrative capital) to resolve their differences through dialogue and negotiation.
On Sept. 25, Iraqis in KRG-held areas -- and in several areas disputed between Baghdad and Erbil -- voted on whether to declare political independence from Iraq.
According to poll results announced by the KRG, almost 93 percent of registered voters cast ballots in favor of independence.
The illegitimate referendum was heavily criticized by most regional and international actors, many of whom had warned that the poll would distract from the fight against terrorism and further destabilize the region.
Commenting on the ongoing fight against Daesh, Silliman said the morale of the terrorist group -- which has recently suffered a string of defeats -- had been "broken".
He congratulated the Iraqi armed forces for their recent recapture from Daesh of Kirkuk's Hawija district.
Regarding Washington's current military presence in Iraq, Silliman said that no U.S. ground forces were involved in anti-Daesh operations but that U.S. military "advisors" were providing Iraqi forces with intelligence.