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General view of the Kurdistan Parliament meeting in Erbil, Iraq September 15.
General view of the Kurdistan Parliament meeting in Erbil, Iraq September 15.

KRG Says to Respect Court Decision Banning Secession

The concession marks the Kurds’ latest attempt to revive negotiations with the central government, which imposed retaliatory measures following the independence vote

KRG Says to Respect Court Decision Banning Secession

Iraqi Kurdish authorities said on Tuesday they would accept a court decision prohibiting the region from seceding, signaling a new phase in efforts to restart stalled negotiations over its future.
Iraq’s Kurds voted overwhelmingly for independence in a referendum in September, defying the central government in Baghdad —which had ruled the ballot illegal— as well as neighboring Turkey and Iran, Reuters reported.
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) said on Tuesday it would respect the Nov. 6 ruling by the Supreme Federal Court, which declared that no Iraqi province could secede.
The ruling responded to a request from the Iraqi government in Baghdad to put an end to any “misinterpretation” of the constitution and to “assert the unity of Iraq,” a court spokesman said last week.
“The Republic of Iraq is a federal, independent and fully sovereign state in which the system of government is a parliamentary and democratic republic, and this constitution is a guarantor of the unity of Iraq,” Article 1 of the Iraqi Constitution reads.
“We believe that this decision must become a basis for starting an inclusive national dialogue between Erbil and Baghdad to resolve all disputes through implementation of all constitutional articles and in a way that guarantees all rights, authorities and status mentioned in the Constitution. We respect the interpretation of the Federal Supreme Court of the First Article of the Iraqi Constitution” the KRG said in the statement.
“To reach a comprehensive agreement, we call for constructive and genuine negotiations in order to build a secure future for all Iraqis. This is the only way to secure the unity of Iraq,” It added.
The concession marks the Kurds’ latest attempt to revive negotiations with the central government, which imposed retaliatory measures following the independence vote.
They included an offensive by Iraqi government forces and the Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces last month to wrest back control from the KRG of the oil city of Kirkuk and other disputed territories.
Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi had previously urged the northern semi-autonomous Kurdish region to abide by the court’s decision.
The court is responsible for settling disputes between Iraq’s central government and the country’s regions and provinces. Its decisions cannot be appealed, though it has no mechanism to enforce its ruling in the Kurdish region.

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