Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit expressed his “regret at the insistence of the Kurds to organize the independence referendum, despite intensive Arab and international efforts to prevent moving forward with the step, to avoid the aggravation of the situation” in the region.
“It is still possible to contain repercussions of this [referendum] if concerned parties acted with wisdom and responsibility,” Aboul Gheit said.
“Interests of the Kurdish people in Iraq will only be achieved within a united, federal, democratic Iraq based on the respect of the Constitution, equality, and citizenship,” he added.
Mahmoud Afifi, the secretary general’s spokesman, said that the League Council at the ministerial level had decided in its session held on September 12, “to support the unity, sovereignty and independence of the Republic of Iraq, and the need to respect and adhere to the Iraqi constitution.”
He stressed that Aboul Gheit renewed his calls on the Iraqis to engage in dialogue “to avoid any potential clash that could pose a serious threat, not only to Iraq but to regional security and stability.”
Cairo expressed “deep concern” about the possible negative repercussions of the referendum.
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry stressed in a statement on Tuesday, “the need for all parties to exercise restraint, and to avoid taking any unilateral actions that may further complicate the situation, destabilize Iraq and feed a climate of chaos and tension in the region.”
The ministry called for dialogue between Erbil and Baghdad to reach a “comprehensive and satisfactory settlement,” reiterating its support for Iraq’s unity and territorial integrity.
Meanwhile, member of the Supreme Committee for the Referendum and former Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, said that Kurdistan President Masoud Barzani “will communicate with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the Arab League to resolve the current differences with Iraq, and to inform them of all the future details and the rational means to deal with any case of anger.”
In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, Zebari said: “The referendum is an internal Kurdish means to unite the ranks and restore the work of Parliament in the province… We will remain brothers, friends, and neighbors and we will take into account mutual interests as well as the need to maintain security and stability of the entire region.”