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Riyadh Calls on Barzani to Abandon Independence Referendum | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Kurds celebrate to show their support for the upcoming September 25th independence referendum in Erbil, Iraq September 16, 2017. REUTERS/Azad Lashkari

Jeddah, Baghdad- Saudi Arabia has called on Kurdistan to refrain from organizing the referendum on independence scheduled on September 25, warning of “risks” that might result from such step.

The Kingdom also urged all parties to engage in a serious dialogue to achieve the interests of all the components of the Iraqi people “in order to ensure the establishment of security and peace in brotherly Iraq and preserve its unity and sovereignty.”

Riyadh said it was relying on the wisdom of Kurdistan President Masoud Barzani to abandon the referendum and “spare Iraq and the region further threats that may ensue”.

An official Saudi source said: “Saudi Arabia’s call for the postponement of the referendum comes in the wake of the current circumstances and dangers in the region, and in order to avoid new crises that may lead to negative political, security and humanitarian repercussions.”

The source said that Saudi Arabia expressed its appreciation to Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi for his efforts in serving Iraq and the Iraqi people, with all its components, and its appreciation to the leaders and components of the people in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, and the achievements and progress they have made in all areas.

It also urged the concerned leaders not to rush to take any unilateral positions that would further complicate the regional situation, and work according to the interests of the parties and achieve the aspirations of the Iraqi people.

In Iraq, Abadi said that relinquishing the idea of the referendum would be without a price, stressing that Iraqis would be the ones to demand guarantees.

His view comes in line with the Arab stance in general, which sees that “there is no point in providing guarantees to the party causing the crisis.”

Abadi was speaking during a meeting with a group of journalists on Tuesday evening. He renewed his rejection of the Kurdistan referendum “whether it is held now or in the future, within the borders of the region or outside it,” describing such move as contrary to the constitution.