The Arab League has regretted the holding of a Kurdish referendum on the secession of northern Iraq’s Kurdish region. In a statement on Tuesday, the Cairo-based league renewed calls for Iraqis to heal rifts and engage in dialogue under Arab and international guarantees to resolve contentious issues.
“It’s still possible to contain repercussions of this [referendum] if concerned parties acted with wisdom and responsibility,” League’s Secretary-General Ahmed Abul-Gheit said. Without specifying, he criticized efforts by some parties to fuel divisions and conflicts in the region.
“Interests of the Kurdish people in Iraq will only be achieved within a united, federal, democratic Iraq based on respect of the Constitution, equality and citizenship,” he said. On Monday, Iraqis in areas under the control of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) as well as territories disputed between Baghdad and Erbil voted in a referendum on whether to secede from Iraq.
Baghdad, Turkey, Iran, the U.S. and the UN have all spoken out against the poll, saying it will only distract from the ongoing fight against Daesh and further destabilize the region. Iraq’s central government has threatened to intervene militarily if the vote leads to violence.
KRG President Masoud Barzani has said a Yes win would not result in an automatic declaration of independence but would simply lead to further negotiations with Baghdad.—Agencies