Kurds reject post-vote Iraq moves as ‘collective punishment’

In a first concrete move by the central government in retaliation for the non-binding referendum, which delivered a resounding 92.7 per cent "yes" for independence, all foreign flights to and from Arbil are to be suspended from Friday.

By: AFP | Arbil | Published: September 29, 2017 1:15 am
Iraq, Kurdish regional government, Kurdistan, Kurds, Kurdish referendum Kurds celebrate to show their support for the independence referendum in Duhok, Iraq, September 26, 2017. (Source: REUTERS)

The Iraqi Kurdish regional government on Thursday rejected measures adopted by Baghdad in the wake of its independence vote as illegal and nothing more than “collective punishment”. “The Kurdish Regional Government rejects all the decisions taken by the Iraqi government and parliament and regards them as collective punishment against the Kurds,” it said after a cabinet meeting in the region’s capital Arbil.

“These decisions are illegal and unconstitutional… They deny the constitutional rights of the Kurds,” it said, while reiterating, however, that the KRG was “ready for dialogue to resolve problems” with Baghdad.

In a first concrete move by the central government in retaliation for the non-binding referendum, which delivered a resounding 92.7 per cent “yes” for independence, all foreign flights to and from Arbil are to be suspended from tomorrow.

Monday’s vote in the three provinces of autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan in the country’s north and some disputed areas was held in defiance of Baghdad, which declared it illegal, and despite international opposition.

Iraqi lawmakers yesterday passed a resolution calling on Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to “take all necessary measures to maintain Iraq’s unity” including by deploying security forces to disputed areas. They also called for the closure of border posts with Turkey and Iran that are outside central government control.

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