Iraqi Kurds seek talks after federal court bars secession

Sergio Conner
November 14, 2017

The KRG said on Tuesday it would respect the November 6 ruling by the Supreme Federal Court, which declared that no Iraqi province could secede. KRG chief Masoud Barzani did not heed Baghdad's appeal not to conduct the referendum.

The Supreme Court's ruling came after central government requested the highest judicial body to end any "wrong misinterpretation" of the Iraqi constitution and assert the country's unity.

"The success of security forces should be supported by solving the ongoing problems between the central government and the KRG, and constructive dialogue needs to be initiated to maintain the national gains", Masoum said.

The reversal of the bank restrictions signals a step towards de-escalating a conflict between Baghdad and the Kurdish region that erupted after the Kurds held a referendum on independence in September.

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Kirkuk is not part of the Kurdistan region, but its people took part in the referendum and overwhelmingly backed independence.

Iran had stopped flight operations and closed its airspace for the flights originating from or destined to the region. These areas lie outside of the Kurdish region and are claimed by both Erbil and Baghdad. It is believed that the two major Kurdish groups had differed on their demand for secession from mainland Iraq.

The Iraqi Foreign Ministry stated on Monday that it can not shut down the diplomatic offices and consulates of the foreign countries in the Kurdistan Region because they are not political.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, seeking to up the pressure in a stand-off with Iraq's Kurdish region, said on Tuesday he would act soon over border areas under Kurdish control but predicted his government's forces would regain them without violence. However, Washington did not announce its intent around the referendum.

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