The flags of Kurdistan and Iraq fly next to eachother in oil-rich Kirkuk on September 26. Photo: Ahmad al-Rubaye | AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Moscow prefers Iraq and the Kurdistan Region “avoid anything” which could cause further destabilization and complications in the Middle East, and believes “all disputes” between Baghdad and Erbil should be resolved through dialogue.
“Moscow respects the national aspirations of the Kurds,” read a statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday. “We believe that all disputes that may exist between the Iraqi federal government and the government of the Kurdish Autonomous Region can and should be resolved through constructive and respectful dialogue with a view to devising a mutually acceptable formula of coexistence within a single Iraqi state."
Russia’s foreign ministry acknowledged that Kurdistan Region held a referendum on Monday, citing “preliminary results” indicating “more than 90 percent of ballots were cast in favor of independence.”
The Kremlin’s spokesperson said last week it would wait to see if the results would be recognized.
“Russia emphasizes the need to avoid anything that could further complicate and destabilize the already conflict-ridden Middle Eastern region. We maintain our unwavering commitment to the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of the friendly Iraq and other Middle Eastern states,” the statement added.
Kurdistan’s electoral commission has stated it would announce the results within 72 hours of the polls closing at 7 p.m. on Monday.
According to the commission, the voter turnout was 72 percent.