Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. Photo: AP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi refused on Monday to hold talks with the Kurdistan Region unless it cancels the results of last week's referendum which saw a 92-percent vote for independence.
“The Kurdistan Region has to cancel the result of the unconstitutional referendum and then engage in serious dialogue with Baghdad to strengthening the integrity of Iraq,” said Abadi’s media office in an announcement.
This statement from the Iraqi premier come a day after the Political Leadership of Kurdistan rejected all calls for the cancellation of the September 25 referendum which they call people's legitimate right.
“Depending on peaceful mechanisms, no threat or pressure could force the Kurdistan nation to withdraw from the decision they made on September 25, 2017,” read a statement from the the Kurdistani leadership.
Erbil also said in a separate announcement that it welcomed an “initiative” from Iraq’s top Shiite cleric Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani who had last week called on Iraqi authorities to respect Kurdistan’s rights and urged officials in the Kurdistan Region to resolve the two sides outstanding problems.
Baghdad has responded harshly against the Kurdistan Region by imposing a flight ban on the region's two international airports and vowing to block all land borders.
The Kurds for their part refuse to back down and suggest that both sides should engage in peaceful dialogue instead.