By Negar Asadi

Iraqi diplomat says Kurdistan independence bid is ‘illegal’

July 17, 2017

TEHRAN - Rageh Saber Abbood Al-Musawi, the Iraqi ambassador to Tehran, has said a plan by the autonomous Kurdistan region to hold a referendum to secede from Iraq is “illegal”.

“This is an ineffective action which runs contrary to Iraq’s constitutional law, the law which stresses Iraq’s integrity and the one that Kurds agreed upon in 2005,” he told ISNA in an interview published on Monday.

“Kurds are our brothers and friends,” he noted, saying that different views can be bridged through dialogue.

Highlighting the great importance of Iraq’s territorial integrity, the top diplomat expressed hope that the war-torn Iraq would be reconstructed with the help of people and through maintaining integrity.

The northern Iraqi Kurdistan region is to hold independence referendum in September on breaking away from the mainland.

The decision to hold the referendum was taken in June, during a meeting between President of Iraqi Kurdistan Massoud Barzani and other political leaders.

“I am pleased to announce that the date for the independence referendum has been set for Monday, Sept. 25, 2017,” Barzani tweeted on June 7.

The Iraqi government issued a statement on June 9 rejecting any unilateral move by Kurdish regional authorities to press for independence.

Iran and Turkey have denounced the move.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran’s clear stance is to support Iraq’s territorial integrity and unity,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on June 10.

The Kurdistan region is part of Iraqi soil and unilateral decisions which are not on the basis of the Iraqi constitution will just complicate the crisis in the country, he explained.

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry also called the decision a “grave mistake”.

“The maintenance of Iraq’s territorial integrity and political unity is one of the fundamental principles of Turkey’s Iraq policy,” it added.

NA/PA

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