Unilateral Territorial Decisions in Iraqi Kurdistan Unhelpful

Unilateral Territorial Decisions in Iraqi Kurdistan UnhelpfulUnilateral Territorial Decisions in Iraqi Kurdistan Unhelpful

Foreign Ministry spokesman denounced Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government for its plan to hold an independence referendum, saying Iran supports territorial integrity of its neighboring Arab country and believes a stable Iraq benefits Iraqis the most.

"An integrated, stable and democratic Iraq guarantees the interest of its citizens from all ethnic and religious [groups]", ISNA quoted Bahram Qasemi as saying on Saturday.

The decision to hold the referendum was taken on Wednesday, during a meeting between KRG President Massoud Barzani and other Kurdish leaders.

Qasemi warned that the "unilateral" decision violating legal norms and Iraq's constitution would only add to problems at a time when Iraq is in "complicated conditions" and faces "ill-wishers' plans for continuation of instability" there.

"Today, Iraq needs calm and national consensus more than ever," Qasemi said, adding, "Differences between Erbil and Baghdad should be settled through dialogue based on the Iraqi constitution."   

The referendum is scheduled for September 25 in the three governorates that make up the Kurdish region, and in the areas that are disputed by the Kurdish and Iraqi governments but are currently under Kurdish military control.

The disputed areas include swaths of northern territory that are claimed by both the Kurdish region and Baghdad, including the key oil-rich province of Kirkuk.

The government in Baghdad announced on Friday it would reject any unilateral move by Kurdish regional authorities to press for independence, Al Jazeera reported.

"No party can, on its own, decide the fate of Iraq, in isolation from the other parties," Iraqi government spokesman Saad al-Haddithi said in a statement.

Turkey also came out against the referendum on Friday, calling the plan a "terrible mistake".

"The maintenance of Iraq's territorial integrity and political unit is one of the fundamental principles of Turkey's Iraq policy," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

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