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13 September, 2017

Iraqi premier says Kurdish referendum on independence ‘unconstitutional’

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi says the planned Kurdish referendum on independence from the Arab country is “unconstitutional,” warning that the Kurds are "illegally" exporting Iraq's oil.

Parliament Speaker Salim al-Jabouri said the vote made it incumbent on the government to “take all steps to protect the unity of Iraq and open a serious dialog” with Kurdish officials. The vote prompted Kurdish lawmakers to quit the parliament floor.

Abadi also stated that Kurdish authorities were illegally extracting crude oil from the oil-rich territories in the northern province of Kirkuk and continued exporting the invaluable national resource. He did not give further details.

The Kurdish referendum is scheduled for September 25, but the central government in Baghdad is strongly opposed to the vote. Iran, Turkey and Syria also oppose the idea of an independent Kurdistan. In June, Tehran expressed opposition to the “unilateral” scheme for independence of the Iraqi Kurdistan, underlining the importance of maintaining the integrity and stability of Iraq and insisting that the Kurdistan region was part of the majority Arab country.

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