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Iraqi Govt. Ready for Dialogue on Condition of Canceling Kurdish Referendum | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi addresses the media during a joint news conference with Iraqi Kurdish President Masoud Barzani in Irbil, April 6, 2015. (Reuters)

Baghdad – The Iraqi government on Monday responded to calls by Kurdistan to engage in dialogue, by calling on the province to cancel the results of the independence referendum, which was held last month.

In a brief statement, Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi’s spokesman, Saad al-Hodeithi, underlined the need for the Kurdish province to “commit to the Constitution and the decisions of the federal court”, noting that the results of the “unconstitutional referendum should be canceled before engaging in any serious dialogue to promote Iraq’s unity.”

His comments followed an announcement by the Kurds of the establishment of a political leadership council for Iraq’s Kurdistan, calling on the government in Baghdad to launch “a serious dialogue.”

A source close to the Iraqi prime minister told Asharq Al-Awsat: “We regret attempts to divide the country and separate the North … I think that Baghdad will not negotiate with the Kurdistan Political Council, because it emerged from the unrecognized referendum council.”

Other Iraqi sources said that a group of Kurdish deputies arrived in Baghdad on Monday to attend a parliamentary session the next day. However, they were informed by Vice President Nouri al-Maliki’s deputies that they would be prevented from entering parliament until they renounce the referendum.

Earlier this week, Maliki called for deploying all efforts “to prevent the outbreak of fighting with the Kurdish people and to foil attempts to ignite a military conflict to cover up the failure of the leadership of the province.”

He welcomed in a statement issued by his office “the return of our brothers, including MPs and employees, who rejected Barzani’s plot and who formed a high opposition rate during the vote on the referendum”.

He also called on countries, which “were behind this adventure to leave Iraq to its people”.