Barzani calls for dialogue after referendum as Baghdad threatens to suspend flights

Source:Xinhua Published: 2017/9/27 9:05:13

Iraq's Kurdish President Masoud Barzani on Tuesday called for dialogue with Iraqi central government and neighboring countries, as Baghdad threatened to suspend all international flights to the Kurdish region.

Barzani said in an evening speech that governments of Iraq and neighboring countries need to continue the dialogue with the Kurdish region, instead of raising voice or issuing threats.

The Kurdish leader vowed the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region will not close the door for dialogue, while urging Baghdad and neighboring countries like Turkey and Iran to respect the will of the Kurdish people.

Meanwhile, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Tuesday attended a cabinet meeting in Baghdad to discuss the the Kurdish referendum held on Monday to seek separation from Iraq.

Abadi told a press conference after the meeting that Baghdad will not negotiate over the referendum's outcome with the Kurds.

Initial poll results showed that at least 93 percent of Iraqi Kurds supported independence of the Kurdistan region from Iraq, despite strong pressure and opposition from the Iraqi government and the international community at large.

Abadi added that his cabinet has made a decision that if the Kurdish region does not hand over the control of all its airports to the central government within three days, all the international flights to and from the region will be suspended.

A statement issued by the Prime Minister's office said that if the condition is not met, Baghdad will start the flight ban on September 29.

The voters in the Kurdish region and disputed areas cast ballots in the referendum on Monday on either voting "Yes" to create an independent Kurdish state or voting "No" to let the region to remain as part of Iraq.

The referendum was held despite intense international pressure on Barzani to suspend the vote, amid fears that it would spark new conflict with Baghdad and neighboring countries such as Iran and Turkey.

Posted in: MID-EAST

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