Iraq's Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi has said his country would never use military force against the Kurdistan Autonomous Region,after it voted for independence in the September 25 referendum.
“We won’t use our army against our people or to launch a war against our Kurdish citizens,” Abadi said in a statement.
The prime minister affirmed the central authorities are committed to upholding unity in the country and protecting national citizens and forces.
But at the same time, the Iraqi government said it would not hold talks unless the Kurds commit to “Iraq’s unity”. Baghdad has said the Kurdish people must disavow the referendum result as a precondition for any dialogue.
Iraq, which considered the vote illegal, has since imposed a ban on direct international flights to the Kurdish region. It had rejected the ballot as a “creation of a second Israel”.
The separatist vote — which has only been publicly supported by Israel — was also met with hostility from Iraqi Kurdistan’s neighbors, including Turkey and Iran.
An official within Iran’s Expediency Council, Ali Akbar Velayati, said before the vote that the existence of a secessionist Kurdish state in Iraq would only benefit the United States and the “Zionist regime of Israel,” both of whom seek to “colonize and dominate” the Middle East, Press TV reported.