'We don't want armed confrontation': Iraqi PM on Kurds
Iraq's prime minister said on Thursday he did not want an armed clash with Kurdish Iraqi authorities and urged Peshmerga forces in disputed areas to work with Iraqi security forces under the control of the central government.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Thursday he did not want an armed conflict with his country's Kurds, days after the autonomous Kurdistan region voted for independence in a referendum.
"We don't want armed confrontation, we don't want clashes but federal authority must prevail," he said after a meeting in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron.
"Separatism is unacceptable," Abadi said, reiterating that the non-binding September 25 vote -- in which 92.7 percent of Iraqi Kurds backed independence -- was "illegal".
"I call on the Peshmerga to remain an integral part of the Iraqi forces under the authority of the federal authorities, to guarantee the security of citizens so that we can rebuild these zones," he said, referring areas taken back from Daesh militants.
Macron voiced support for Kurds' rights while defending Iraq's territorial unity.
France has "always been sensitive to the situation of Kurds" but is also committed to stability in Iraq, Macron said, calling for dialogue between Baghdad and Iraqi Kurdistan.
"France is ready to contribute actively to the UN's mediation efforts, if Iraqi authorities so wish," he said.
Iraq and its neighbors have rejected the Kurdish region's independence referendum last month, and Baghdad has banned international flights and threatened to take control of the autonomous Kurdish region's borders.