Iraq’s Top Court Rules No Region Can Secede

Iraq’s Top Court Rules No Region Can Secede

Iraq’s Supreme Federal Court ruled on Monday that no region or province can secede, strengthening the government’s hand as it seeks to prevent a repeat of September’s Kurdish independence vote.
The ruling was a response to a request from the central government in Baghdad to put an end to any “wrong misinterpretation” of the constitution and assert the unity of Iraq, a court spokesman said, TRT reported.
Soon after, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi urged the northern semi-autonomous Kurdish region to abide by the court’s decision.
“We call on the region to clearly state its commitment to non-separation or independence from Iraq,” he said in a statement. There was no immediate reaction from Kurdish authorities.
Iraq’s Kurds voted overwhelmingly to break away from Iraq in a referendum held on September 25, defying the central government in Baghdad as well as neighboring Turkey and Iran.
Abadi said the government was now “taking the necessary measures to impose federal authorities” without going into further details. Baghdad was committed to “preserving Iraq’s unity and preventing any attempt for separation,” he added.
The court is responsible for settling disputes between Iraq’s central government and the country’s regions and provinces, including Kurdistan. Its decisions are final and mandatory for all parties according to the constitution.
Meanwhile, the prime minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government on Monday reiterated a call for dialogue with Baghdad to resolve pending issues, adding military force would not resolve tensions between Erbil and Baghdad, Kurdistan 24 reported.
“We’re ready to handover oil, airports, border gates, and all revenues to Baghdad if the [federal government of Iraq] sends the salaries [of KRG employees], the Kurdistan Region’s 17% constitutional budget share, and other financial dues,” Nechirvan Barzani said during a press conference.
He expressed concern about Iraq’s 2018 budget draft, passed by the Iraqi Council of Ministers on Sunday, where Kurdistan’s federal budget share was decreased from 17% to 12.67.
Barzani stated that the KRG wants to resolve issues peacefully through dialogue within the framework of the Iraqi Constitution.


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