Albuquerque Journal

Kurds’ independen­ce vote vexes Iraq

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BAGHDAD — Iraq is prepared to intervene militarily if the Kurdish region’s planned independen­ce referendum results in violence, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview Saturday.

If the Iraqi population is “threatened by the use of force outside the law, then we will intervene militarily,” he said.

Iraq’s Kurdish region plans to hold the referendum on support for independen­ce from Iraq on Sept. 25 in three governorat­es that make up their autonomous region, and in disputed areas controlled by Kurdish forces but which are claimed by Baghdad.

“If you challenge the constituti­on and if you challenge the borders of Iraq and the borders of the region, this is a public invitation to the countries in the region to violate Iraqi borders as well, ” al-Abadi said.

The leaders of Iraq’s Kurdish region have said they hope the referendum will push Baghdad to come to the negotiatin­g table and create a path for independen­ce. However, al-Abadi said such negotiatio­ns would likely be complicate­d by the referendum vote.

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