Tehran (Press Shia) – Washington does not officially recognize a unilateral independence referendum held by the Iraqi Kurdish region, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said.
“The United States does not recognize the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)’s unilateral referendum held on Monday. The vote and the results lack legitimacy and we continue to support a united, federal, democratic and prosperous Iraq,” Tillerson said in a statement on Friday.
"The United States asks all parties, including Iraq's neighbors, to reject unilateral actions and the use of force," he said, adding, “We urge calm and an end to vocal recriminations and threats of reciprocal actions.”
The Iraqi Kurdistan Region went ahead with its plan to hold the referendum on Monday while Iraq’s neighbors and countries in the Middle East, including Iran and Turkey, had voiced opposition to such a move and supported the Baghdad central government.
According to Kurdish officials, over 90 percent of the voters said ‘Yes’ to separation from Iraq.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, however, demanded the annulment of the referendum, saying, “We will never hold talks based on the results of the referendum.”
Iraq’s top Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani also voiced opposition to the referendum, warning of the negative repercussions of such “unilateral steps.”
Pressure has been building on officials in Erbil, Kurdistan’s regional capital, over the referendum, with regional carriers, including Turkish Airlines, Egypt Air and Lebanon’s Middle East Airlines submitting to Baghdad’s request to suspend their flights serving Iraqi Kurdistan.