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Abadi Demands Annulment Not Freeze of Kurdish Independence Vote

Abadi Demands Annulment Not Freeze of Kurdish Independence Vote

Thursday, 26 October, 2017 - 08:00
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. AFP file photo

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi insisted on Thursday that the Kurdish independence referendum be declared void, dismissing an offer by the Kurdistan region to "freeze" the outcome of the vote as part of efforts to resolve the crisis through talks.

"We won't accept anything but its cancellation and the respect of the Constitution," Abadi said in a statement.

Abadi held morning talks with Iranian First Vice President Eshagh Jahangiri ahead of meetings with other top leaders in Tehran.

A day earlier, the Iraqi prime minister met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara.

Kurdish leaders held a referendum on independence last month to the fury not only of Baghdad but also of neighbouing Iran and Turkey which have long been fearful of anything that might stoke separatist sentiment among their own large Kurdish minorities.

In a related development, Turkish Customs Minister Bulent Tufenkci said on Thursday that Turkey and Iraq have agreed to open a second border gate and its construction will begin once the necessary security measures are taken.

"I had the impression that the Iraqi government agrees that there should be a second border gate,” Tufenkci told Anadolu news agency.

He said the planned gate would be near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, in a region where ISIS and Kurdish PKK militants still pose a security threat.

"Once steps are taken to secure the path, there is no other obstacle for us," he said.

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