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Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi: Kurdish independence referendum decision untimely

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi speaks during the Iraq Energy Forum at Al-Rashid Hotel in the capital Baghdad on April 2, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has said that the Kurdish minority's decision to hold an independence referendum is untimely.
"Every part of Iraq has aspirations and has a dream, and we respect that, even if we disagree with it," said Abadi on Tuesday. "We live in one homeland and they are our partners," he added.
"We have a constitution that we've voted on, we have a federal parliament and a federal government…The referendum at this time is not opportune," he added.
The president of Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government, Masoud Barzani, announced on Twitter on Wednesday that the northern territory would hold an independence referendum on September 25 not only in the three provinces that make up the Kurdish region but in the areas that are disputed by the Kurdish and the central Iraqi governments.
Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government President Masoud Barzani (Photo by Reuters)
After the announcement, the Iraqi government issued a statement on Friday in response that it would reject any unilateral move by Kurdish regional authorities to press for independence.   
Back in April, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi warned against Iraq’s disintegration, saying a potential separation of the country’s Kurds would harm them.   
Turkey has also censured such plans, warning that it would be a grave mistake.
Turkey fears that the potential of the creation of an independent Kurdish state in its backyard could further embolden the militants towards stiffer confrontation with Ankara.
Iran has also expressed Tehran’s opposition to a “unilateral” plan by Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region to hold an independence referendum, stressing the importance of maintaining integrity and stability in the Arab country. “The Kurdistan region is part of the Republic of Iraq,” said Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi. 

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