News ID: 201270
Published: 0518 GMT September 26, 2017

US ‘deeply disappointed’ by Kurdish secession vote, warns of instability

US ‘deeply disappointed’ by Kurdish secession vote, warns of instability
Members of SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) security forces, affiliated to the Iraqi Interior Ministry, patrol the streets of the northern city of Kirkuk during the vote on the Kurdish independence, on September 25, 2017. (AFP)

The United States said it is ‘deeply disappointed’ by the Iraqi Kurdistan’s ‘unilateral’ independence referendum, adding it would increase ‘hardships’ for people living in the region.

“We believe this step will increase instability and hardships for the Kurdistan region and its people,” the State Department said in a statement on Monday, shortly after the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) defied international pressure to cancel the vote, reported.

“We believe all sides should engage constructively in a dialogue to improve the future of all Iraqis. The United States opposes violence and unilateral moves by any party to alter boundaries,” the statement read.

The department noted that the secession bid would ‘greatly complicate’ the KRG’s ties with the central Iraqi government, as well as the country’s neighbors.

However, it said that Washington’s ‘historic relationship’ with the people of Kurdistan would remain unchanged despite the move.

Meanwhile, Iraqi lawmakers demanded that government troops be deployed to areas disputed with Kurds.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi also said that his government would not hold talks about the results of Monday’s secession vote. Abadi said that those who were responsible for the ‘unconstitutional’ referendum would be duly punished.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned on Monday that Ankara would seal the border with the Iraqi Kurdistan over the contentious plebiscite.

On Sunday, Iran also closed its airspace to all flights to and from the Kurdish region at the request of the Iraqi government.

Tehran has advised against the ‘unilateral’ scheme, underlining the importance of maintaining the integrity and stability of Iraq amid its ongoing war against Takfiri terrorist groups such as Daesh.

Syria has also rejected the independence referendum by Iraq’s Kurds as ‘unacceptable’, stressing that Damascus only recognizes a unified Iraq.

Underlining the importance of focusing on the war against Daesh, the US State Department warned that the terror group was seeking to exploit instability and discord.

“The United States supports a united, federal, democratic and prosperous Iraq and will continue to seek opportunities to assist Iraqis to fulfill their aspirations within the framework of the constitution,” the statement added.

Following the vote, the Iraqi army held major military drills with the Turkish military along the common border between the two countries.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres voices his worries over a controversial referendum on the independence of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region from Iraq’s central government.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres reacted to the move on Monday, expressing concern over the ‘potentially destabilizing effects’ that it might trigger.

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