TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Kremlin spokesman on Tuesday declared its opposition to referendum held in semi-autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq, saying Moscow backed the territorial integrity of countries in the region.
The comments were the Kremlin’s first reaction after an independence referendum in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region which was held amid the Iraqi central government, regional and international opposition.
“We still believe that preserving the territorial and political integrity of the regional states is crucial for keeping stability and security in the region and for the settlement of the many critical problems this region has,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a conference call with reporters.
Peskov also confirmed that Russian President Vladimir Putin had discussed the referendum in phone conversations with the leaders of Turkey and Iran on Monday.
Iraqi central government, neighbors, in particular Iran, Turkey and Syria as well as the international community and the UN showed negative reaction 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Local media reports said Kurdistan’s referendum has passed with 91.83 percent support for independence, according to preliminary figures from the Kurdistan Democratic Party’s (KDP) election department.
Voter turnout was 77.83 percent, the KDP data revealed. The KDP, like other political parties, had observers at polling stations, gathering data. The election commission has not yet released official results.
The Kurdish election commission has announced that the voter turnout was 72 percent. Of 4,581,255 eligible voters, 3,305,925 cast ballots, Shirwan Zirar, commission spokesperson said in a press conference Monday evening.