She described both the Iraqi and Kurdish governments as “friends” with whom the US government has close relations. Photo: Screenshot
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The US State Department has said that they are calling on both Erbil and Baghdad to “engage constructively” following the Kurdistan referendum, saying a possible flight ban announced by the Iraqi prime minister on Tuesday is not a positive development.
PM Haider al-Abadi announced the decision in his weekly news conference after the meeting of the Council of Ministers on Tuesday. If Erbil does not comply within the three days, Baghdad will close the airports, he asserted.
Heather Nauert, the spokesperson for the State Department, told reporters on Tuesday that they consider the Kurdistan vote as “unilateral” and they are deeply disappointed the vote went ahead despite opposition from the US and other countries.
She described both the Iraqi and Kurdish governments as “friends” with whom the US government has close relations.
Asked about the flight ban, she said they recommend continued talks between the two sides in a constructive way, something that is not being served if Iraq imposes the flight ban.
“I have certainly seen that report. I am aware of it, and one of the things we would do is call on all sides to engage constructively. That, if that is in fact accurate, would not be an example of engaging constructively. We want the – both sides to come together and have some conversation and be able to move things forward, but do it in a constructive fashion,” Nauert said.
She said that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had phone calls with both the Iraqi prime minister and Kurdistan President Masoud Barzani “in recent days.”
She emphasized that the US supports a united, federal and democratic Iraq.