Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has said that they refuse a Kurdish vote on independence "now or in future." Photo: AFP/Safin Hamed
BAGHDAD, Iraq – The second round of talks between a visiting Kurdistan delegation and the ruling Shiite National Alliance has ended without any results in Baghdad on Saturday, just two days before the independence referendum.
The office of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi stated that he did not meet the Kurdistan delegation.
Ali Allaq, from the National Alliance, said at a press conference that the officials from Kurdistan visited the capital to express their determination to hold the vote on September 25.
Reading a statement, Allaq said that Erbil still has time to cancel the vote “before it is too late” and to respect the Iraqi constitution and an interim ruling from the Iraqi Supreme Court that suspended the vote.
He said if the vote is held, there will be “big consequences” from Iraq and other countries.
He said that the National Alliance supports the Iraqi federal government in whatever measures it deems necessary to counter the referendum.
Allaq said they told the Kurdistan delegation in clear terms that they reject the vote in both the Kurdistan Region and the disputed areas claimed by both Erbil and Baghdad.
Another member of the Alliance said at the press conference that they will refuse to meet a Kurdistan delegation after the vote, if Erbil pushes forward with the referendum.
Rozh Nuri Shaweys, the head of the Kurdistan delegation, said at a press conference that they visited Baghdad to explain the position of the Kurdistan leadership.
“Their view was dialogue before the referendum and our view was dialogue before and after the referendum,” Shaweys said of their meeting with the ruling party.
He added that Erbil will not be the first party to end talks, while insisting that they will hold the vote as planned, including in Kurdistani areas such as the oil-rich province of Kirkuk.
Saadi Pira, also a member of the delegation and the spokesperson for the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), said that his party remains committed to holding the vote on time.
Erbil accuses the Iraqi government of violating 55 articles of the Iraqi constitution, including Article 140 that concerns the fate of the disputed areas such as Kirkuk.
Allaq, from the Alliance, said that the Kurdish leadership has yet to prove that claim, while adding they also have a list that contains up to 100 such violations committed by Erbil.
The Iraqi prime minister had earlier said they reject the referendum “now or in future,” and has threatened to use force if violations are made by Erbil.
Vice President Nouri al-Maliki, the head of the State of Law Coalition, a member of the Alliance, rejected a UN-backed alternative that called for negotiation between Erbil and Baghdad. He claimed that the offer contained sections that were “unconstitutional.”
The first round of talks between the Kurdistan delegation and the Shiite Alliance took place last month – the week of talks between the Kurdistan officials and Iraqi leadership ended without any real progress.