Kurdish region ‘will honour Iraqi federal court’s decision to ban home rule’
The Kurdistan Regional Government yesterday said it would respect a ruling by Iraq’s federal court prohibiting its push for independence.
The federal court’s decision this month came after Iraqi Kurds overwhelmingly voted in favour of independence in a non-binding referendum on September 25, which was criticised as illegal by the central Iraqi government and neighbours Turkey and Iran.
The KRG, which governs Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region, said it would “respect the November 6 ruling by the supreme federal court”, which declared that no Iraqi province could secede from Baghdad.
“We believe that this decision must become a basis for starting an inclusive national dialogue between Erbil and Baghdad to resolve all disputes,” it said.
Dialogue will be implemented through the Iraqi constitution in a way that “guarantees all rights, authorities and status, since this is the only way to secure the unity of Iraq”, it said.
The federal court is responsible for settling disputes between Iraq’s central government and the country’s regions and provinces. Its decisions cannot be appealed, although it cannot enforce its ruling in the Kurdish region.
After the Kurdish bid for independence, Baghdad halted international flights in and out of Iraqi Kurdistan and launched a military operation that recaptured the oil-rich city of Kirkuk and other disputed areas from Kurdish forces.
These areas lie outside the Kurdish region and are claimed by Erbil and Baghdad.
Iraq also unleashed a legal barrage against Kurdish officials and sought to seize key businesses, while Turkey and Iran have threatened to close their borders with the autonomous region to oil exports.
US president Donald Trump’s special envoy to the anti-ISIL coalition, Brett McGurk, yesterday praised Erbil’s efforts in trying to resolve the dispute. The US has backed Kurdish forces fighting ISIL in Iraq and Syria.
On Monday, Kurdish prime minister Nechirvan Barzani urged Baghdad to respond to Erbil’s calls for talks and called on the US to find neutral ground in resolving the dispute.
Iraqi prime minister Haider Al Abadi had previously urged Erbil to abide by the federal court’s November 6 decision so that negotiations between the two could start.
But Mr Barzani accused Baghdad of trying to abolish the Kurdish region and “rejecting calls for dialogue”.
“Baghdad has not responded to Erbil’s proposals for dialogue”, he said, calling on officials in the central government “to resolve all problems through the constitution”.
Mr Barzani also accused the US of supporting “Baghdad instead of being a mediator between its two allies”.
He urged Washington to “balance its relations with the two sides and to set the stage for constructive dialogue”.