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Iraq

PM Abadi denies his visit to France is for talks on Kurdish referendum

By Rudaw 30/9/2017
Haider al-Abadi speaks at the meeting of Global Coalition on the Defeat of ISIS, in Washington on March 22, 2017. Photo: AP
Haider al-Abadi speaks at the meeting of Global Coalition on the Defeat of ISIS, in Washington on March 22, 2017. Photo: AP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The office of the Iraqi Prime Minister has denied that his visit to France on Thursday is linked to the Kurdish independence referendum.

A statement from PM Haider al-Abadi’s office said that he had received an invitation from his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron that was delivered by the French ministers for defence and foreign affairs when they visited Baghdad last month.

The visit does not have anything to do with “the unconstitutional referendum,” the statement read.

The visit is to “strengthen the bilateral relations,” and to increase efforts in the war against the ISIS group, it added. 

It also said that the two leaders did not mention in their phone call held on Wednesday the necessity to protect the Kurdish rights, or for Baghdad to avoid escalation.

Earlier Reuetrs reported that PM Abadi accepted an invitation from President Macron to go to Paris for talks on the Kurdish referendum and the prevention of any escalation.
 
Citing a source from Macron's office, Reuters reported that Abadi is to travel to Paris on October 5.
 
According to the news report the French president has "offered to help ease tensions between Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government over Monday’s referendum,"
 
The Kurdistan Region voted by an overwhelming 92 percent on Monday to separate from Iraq and form an independent Kurdish state.
 
The Iraqi government has since closed the region's air space and all flights to Kurdistan Region's two international airports have been grounded.
 
A statement from Macron's office following his telephone call with Abadi said that the French president had "warned that the two sides should remain united in their priority to defeat Islamic State and stabilize Iraq."
 
“All escalation should be avoided,” Macron said in the statement, Reuters reported.
 
“The president ... recalled the importance of preserving unity and Iraq’s (territorial) integrity while recognising the rights of the Kurdish people,” the statement said. “With the priority to fight Islamic State and the stabilisation of Iraq, Iraqis must remain united.”

On Wednesday, the office of PM Abadi stated that the French and Iraqi leaders held a phone call.

Macron praised PM Abadi's handling of the Kurdistan independence referendum in the phone call between the two leaders, according to a statement out of Baghdad at the time. 

President 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,” the statement continued. 

The Iraqi 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. 

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. 

The office of the Iraqi Prime Minister has denied that his visit to France on Thursday is linked to the Kurdish independence referendum.

A statement from PM Haider al-Abadi’s office said that he had received an invitation from his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron that was delivered by the French ministers for defence and foreign affairs when they visited Baghdad last month.

The visit does not have anything to do with “the unconstitutional referendum,” the statement read.

The visit is to “strengthen the bilateral relations,” and to increase efforts in the war against the ISIS group, it added. 

It also said that the two leaders did not mention in their phone call held on Wednesday the necessity to protect the Kurdish rights, or for Baghdad to avoid escalation.

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Ahmed Qani | 30/9/2017
The iraqi goverment never respects what the kurdish people want and keep ignoring them they speak in the name of democrasy but non of democrasy was seen in their roling of iraq in the past years since 2003
Kawa Asinger | 30/9/2017
Take what Abadi and his administration say about the meeting with a grain of salt. The shia are really good a taqqiya, hell the whole muslim world is good at taqqiyah. So be suspicious what they say. Always try to verify everything they say, or don't say through credible and reliable sources.
pre-Boomer Marine brat | 30/9/2017
The last time I was in France, there were streetwalkers on the corner south of the hotel. Perhaps that's why he went.
Anon | 30/9/2017
@Ahmed Qani Democracy means MOB Rule, Democracy is a word that is very often misused and thrown around as if it meant freedom. the word is constitutional republic.
Mohamedzzz | 30/9/2017
PM Abadi going to France to visit Eiffel tower.
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