More than 30 countries, including the US, UK, Germany, France, Iran, and Turkey, have diplomatic missions in the Kurdistan Region. Photo: AFP/Safin Hamed
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The Iraqi parliament has called on nations to withdraw their diplomatic missions from Erbil and for Iraqi forces to be deployed to disputed areas that have come under Peshmerga control during the war against ISIS. The measures were part of twelve orders issued by the parliament on Wednesday in response to the Kurdistan independence referendum.
Describing the vote as “unconstitutional,” parliament called on the Iraqi government to bring charges against Kurdish leaders who held the referendum, including Kurdistan President Masoud Barzani, to order the closure of all Kurdistan’s international borders, and called on Iraq’s neighbours to prevent the export of goods to Kurdistan.
The parliament also requested the government take measures to enforce orders issued by the Iraqi government, legislature, and judiciary. This would include the decision made earlier this month to remove Kirkuk Governor Najmaldin Karim from his post for holding the vote in the oil-rich city.
The parliament committed Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who is also commander-in-chief of the armed forces, to deploy forces to all areas that were under control of the Iraqi government before June, 10, 2014, the date of the fall of Mosul.
Kurdish Peshmerga moved into Kirkuk and other disputed or Kurdistani areas when the Iraqi army failed to defend these areas against ISIS advances in 2014.
The parliament called on the government to enforce its control over the oil wells in Kirkuk and disputed areas, bringing them under the charge of Iraq’s Ministry of Oil.
It also said the Iraqi government must summon the ambassadors of those countries who have diplomatic missions in the Kurdistan Region to inform them to close their consulates and offices, moving them to provinces outside of the Kurdistan Region. There are currently 34 nations who have consulates, embassy or trade offices in the Kurdistan Region.
It also called on Iraqi President Fuad Masum, a Kurd, to practice his role to protect the unity of Iraq and enforce its constitution.
The parliament also supported a series of measures that were taken by Iraq’s National Security Council that includes, among others, closing the airspace of the Kurdistan Region. The flight ban is to take effect on Friday at 6:00 p.m.
The United States described the flight ban introduced by Abadi as not “constructive,” called for talks to continue between Erbil and Baghdad, and offered to facilitate such engagements. The US opposed the referendum and has repeatedly urged open dialogue between the parties.