TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – Iraqi central government, neighbors, in particular Iran, Turkey and Syria as well as the international community and the UN showed negative response to Kurds’ referendum for independence in the northern semi-autonomous region of Iraq.
Iraqi government has called the referendum illegal and refused talks with Kurds about referendum results.
The Iraqi government will not hold talks with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) about the results of Monday's "unconstitutional" referendum on independence, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said.
"Most of the problems of the [Kurdish] region are internal ones, not Baghdad, and will be increased with the calls for separation," Abadi said.
"The economic and financial problems the region is suffering from are the result of corruption and mis-administration," the Iraqi prime minister said.
In the meantime, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in a phone conversation with the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Iraq’s territorial integrity and national unity should never be undermined.
Rouhani said, “The coordination and cooperation of regional countries would be very important and influential in this regard and undoubtedly, the countries will not allow a new instability to be created in the region.”
Also, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi criticized the unilateral move by Iraq’s Kurdistan Region to hold an independence referendum and said it took place without the necessary prudence.
Meanwhile, Turkish president and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the Iraqi Kurdish independence referendum by phone on Monday and laid stress on the territorial integrity of both Iraq and Syria, Turkish presidential sources said.
Erdogan in a lecture on Monday threatened to cut off the pipeline that carries oil from northern Iraq to the outside world, intensifying pressure on the Kurdish autonomous region over its independence referendum.
The Turkish president said Ankara could take punitive measures involving borders and air space against the Kurdistan Regional Government over the referendum and would not recognize the outcome.
"After this, let's see through which channels the northern Iraqi regional government will send its oil, or where it will sell it," he said in a speech. “We have the tap. The moment we close the tap, then it's done."
"Our energy, interior and customs ministries are working on [measures]. We are evaluating steps regarding border gates and air space. We will take these steps quickly," he told Turkish broadcasters.
Syria, another Iraqi neighbor has also expressed its opposition with the referendum and Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said that his country disapproves of any move entailing disintegration of neighboring Iraq, making it clear that Damascus recognizes only a unified Iraq with the Baghdad central government at the helm.
“This step (referendum) is rejected and we don’t recognize it,” SANA quoted him as saying.
The international bodies have also showed negative reaction to Iraqi Kurds’ referendum and the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed regret that the Kurds have gone ahead with the referendum.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Guterres noted the referendum was "unilaterally declared, included disputed areas" and was opposed by Iraqi authorities and the global community.
The spokesman said Guterres regretted that opportunities for negotiations were not seized and viewed the decision to hold the vote as potentially destabilizing.
Washington which is considered the Iraqi separatist Kurdish ruling party’s traditional alley had a cautious reaction and the US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement that it is "deeply disappointed" by the KRG decision to go through with a referendum on the region's future with the rest of Iraq.
"We believe this step will increase instability and hardships for the Kurdistan region and its people," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.
Hence, the official said that despite holding the referendum, Washington will continue its normal relations with Erbil.