Abadi Formally Demands Kurdistan Region Suspend Independence Vote

Abadi Formally Demands Kurdistan Region Suspend Independence VoteAbadi Formally Demands Kurdistan Region Suspend Independence Vote

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Monday he had formally demanded the Kurdistan region suspend an independence referendum that regional neighbors and Western powers fear could undermine a campaign against the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group.

But the Kurdish leadership in northern Iraq showed no sign of flinching despite coming under intense international and regional pressure to call off the Sept. 25 vote, Reuters reported.

Kurdish forces have, with US backing, been in the forefront of the battle against IS in Iraq and Syria. But the Kurdish involvement strains relations between Washington and Ankara.

The Iraqi Supreme Federal Court approved Abadi’s demand to consider “the breakaway of any region or province from Iraq as unconstitutional”, his office said in a statement.

“Holding (the referendum) will lead to dangerous outcomes, resulting in the division of Iraq and threatening civil peace.”

The court, in charge of settling disputes between the central government and the provinces, “ordered” the government of the autonomous Kurdish region to stop the referendum.

The court’s order bears legal weight but it cannot be implemented in practice in the Kurdish region which has its own police and its own government, led by Massoud Barzani.

Iraqi state TV said the court had issued an “order to stop the procedures of the referendum planned on Sept. 25 by the Kurdistan regional presidency”.

The United Nations, the United States, Britain and France have renewed over the past 48 hours their rejection of the vote, seen as a distraction from the war on IS militants who continue to occupy parts of Iraq and Syria.

They called on Erbil, the seat of the Kurdistan Regional Government, to talk with Baghdad to resolve land and power sharing disputes.


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