President Masoud Barzani hosts British Secretary of State for Defence Michael Fallon on September 18. Photo: KRP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - United Kingdom Secretary of State for Defense Michael Fallon urges dialogue between the Kurdistan Region and Baghdad in a letter he sent to Kurdish President Masoud Barzani amid continued tough measures Baghdad has taken in response to the independence referendum.
“Now that the referendum has taken place, I would urge you to engage constructively with Baghdad and your other neighbors and strive for a mutually agreeable solution in a measured and calm manner,” read the letter Fallon sent to President Barzani on Saturday, according to the Kurdistan Regional Presidency.
Fallon, in part of his letter urges continued coordination between the Peshmerga and the Iraqi armed forces on the ground in the fight against ISIS.
The Secretary hailed the importance of the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in their part in the fight against ISIS.
He also thanked Barzani for his welcome during his visit
to the Kurdistan Region on September 18 when the British Secretary had called on the Kurdistan Region to delay the referendum but Barzani refused saying no alternative back then had been presented to guarantee independence talks.
The United Kingdom has repeatedly expressed its opposition to the independence referendum vote, mainly citing fears that it may negatively affect the war against ISIS in which the Peshmerga have played a central role.
After 92.73 percent of voters chose independence for Kurdistan in Monday’s referendum, Baghdad has rejected the result and issued a series of orders to ban flights, shut the borders, close foreign representations, assert control over oil exports, and deploy troops to disputed areas.
The measures were slammed and rejected by the Kurdish authorities.
Both Erbil and Baghdad are accusing the other of acting illegally and contrary to the constitution.