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Iraqi PM reaffirm rejection to Kurdish independence referendum
Last Updated: 2017-09-25 08:28 | Xinhua
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Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Sunday reiterated his rejection to the referendum on independence of the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan slated for Sept. 25.

"Taking a decision unilaterally that would affect Iraq's unity and making separation from one side is contrary to the law and unconstitutional, and we will not deal with it or with its results," Abadi said in a statement broadcast on the official Iraqiya channel.

"Such insistence will lead to more problems in Iraq and the region," Abadi warned.

"If the Kurdish regional authorities insist on holding the referendum, there will be subsequent steps to protect Iraq's unity," Abadi said without specifying what these steps would be.

Abadi's speech came as a response to the Kurdish regional president Masoud Barzani who held a press conference in the region's capital Erbil and reconfirmed holding the referendum as scheduled on Monday.

On June 7, Barzani announced his intention to hold a referendum on the independence of the Kurdish region from Iraq on Sept. 25.

The independence of Kurdistan is opposed by many countries because it would threaten the integrity of Iraq and because it comes as the Iraqi forces are in fight against the terrorist IS militant group.

In addition, the neighboring countries of Turkey, Iran and Syria see that such a step would threaten their territorial integrity, as larger populations of Kurds live in those countries.

The referendum is not a declaration of independence, but still it is a way for the Iraqi Kurds to express their intention to pursue independence more aggressively in a post-Islamic State (IS) Iraq, and to solidify their territorial gains, most importantly the oil-rich Kirkuk province.

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