ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The Kurdish independence referendum set for September 25 is not the end of the road for the unity and territorial integrity of Iraq, Iraq’s Vice President Ayad Allawi told Rudaw Tuesday following his meeting with the Kurdish President Masoud Barzani in Erbil.
The Iraqi government has opposed Kurdistan’s upcoming vote, with the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi threatening that Erbil will “lose” all it has achieved since the US-led invasion of Iraq. Abadi’s comments came after a vote by the Iraqi parliament that rejected the Kurdish referendum as it also committed all related parties, including the Iraqi presidency, to take “all measures” to preserve the unity of Iraq.
Allawi, a Shiite Arab secular politician who became the first Iraqi Prime Minister after the invasion, said that he hopes that the Iraqi and Kurdish governments would continue the path of dialogue to resolve their outstanding issues.
“We call to calm the situation, for negotiations, for constructive talks between the Iraqi parties, and of course first and foremost from the Kurdish parties and the Kurdistan leadership to reach peace and security for all of Iraq including Kurdistan,” Allawi said.
Allawi and Barzani discussed the Iraqi politics, the situation in Mosul, the war against ISIS and the referendum, a statement published by the Kurdish presidency read.
Allawi said there was a “full agreement” between him and the Kurdish president in the meeting.
He told Rudaw that the Kurdish independence vote in less than two weeks “does not mean the end of the road with regard to the unity and integrity of Iraq.”
President Barzani insisted Tuesday in Kirkuk that the vote would take place on September 25 in the Kurdistan Region and also in the disputed or Kurdistani areas such as Kirkuk.
Allawi, who also heads the Iraqi National Accord party, said earlier this summer that they do not think the timing of the referendum is “right.”
“It would better to be held at another time when the situation would get calmer,” Allawi said at the time.
Allawi, Osama al-Nujaifi and Nouri al-Maliki each hold the post of vice president in the Iraqi government.