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Abul Gheit Asks Barzani to Reconsider Referendum Decision | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit speaks during a joint news conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov following their meeting in Moscow, Russia, July 5, 2017. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

Cairo– Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Abul Gheit has sent a “private message” to the head of Iraq’s Kurdistan region, Masoud Barzani, asking him to reconsider his decision to hold an independence referendum on September 25.

Arab diplomatic sources said that Abul Gheit has warned in his letter that the referendum would convey a negative message to non-Kurdish Iraqi people, and would pave the way for divisions, which would further complicate the situation in the region.

He also stressed that such move taken “without national consensus and without coordination and agreement with the government in Baghdad may aggravate the situation and push all parties to take tough positions that don’t serve the future of Iraqis, including the Kurds”.

“It should be noted that ISIS has infiltrated into the society under specific circumstances that should not be repeated,” the Arab League secretary general said, adding that authorities should engage “immediately and without delay in serious and continuous efforts to achieve comprehensive reconciliation among the Iraqi people.”

The letter has also reiterated the Arab League’s stance towards the separation of Kurdistan, stressing that the Kurdish people’s rights could only be fully achieved under the framework of a democratic and federal Iraqi state.

In this regard, Abul Gheit urged Barzani to deploy efforts to meet his people’s rights and preserve them in accordance with the Iraqi Constitution, which was democratically approved by the different political factions.

The sources noted that the letter has underlined the need to recognize the diversity of Arab societies, and consider it a “source of enrichment and a factor of strength for the Arab region.

“While the Arab League is keen to ensure the territorial integrity of Arab countries, it urges all Arab States to fulfill their obligations in applying the modern concepts of citizenship and granting equal rights to all the members of the society,” Abul Gheit said in his letter.