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Iraq ready to use force if KRG referendum leads to violence: PM Abadi

in EUROPE/PRESS RELEASE/REGIONS by

Iraq is prepared to intervene militarily if the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) planned independence referendum results in violence, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview Saturday. 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 (like Kirkuk for example, a rich-oil city) controlled by Kurdish forces but which are under the rule of 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, which is a very dangerous escalation,” al-Abadi said. The leaders of KRG 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. In a statement released late Friday night the White House called for the Kurdish region to call off the referendum “and enter into serious and sustained dialogue with Baghdad”.

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