French President Emmanuel Macron spoke by telephone with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Wednesday. Photos: Rudaw
BAGHDAD, Iraq – France’s president has praised the Iraq’ prime minister’s handling of the Kurdistan independence referendum in a phone call between the two leaders on Wednesday, according to a statement out of Baghdad.
President Emmanuel Macron reiterated France’s “respect for the unity of Iraq, its territorial integrity, its stability, and the rejection of the referendum in the Kurdistan Region,” read a statement from the media office of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
The statement added that Macron praised Abadi for dealing with the situation “with a high level of responsibility” and invited the Iraqi leader to visit France.
Abadi told Macron that Baghdad will take “decisive measures” to prevent plots that are aimed at dividing the country and undermining its national security, according to the statement.
On Twitter, Abadi added that Macron had offered “full backing of France” to maintain Iraq’s territorial integrity.
Elysee has not immediately released a statement on the phone call.
Baghdad considers the independence referendum illegal and has refused to recognize the landslide 92.73 percent support for independence. In the days after the vote, Abadi has announced several measures against the Kurdistan Region
, including deploying troops to disputed zones and shutting Kurdistan’s airports
Before Monday’s vote, Macron had said France would never prevent any “democratic process,”
but stressed the need to keep Iraq stable.
Kurdistan and France have historically enjoyed close relations. France was instrumental in establishing the 1991 no-fly zone over northern Iraq that essentially allowed the establishment of the autonomous Kurdish region.