Monday, September 27, 2021

US does not recognize the outcome of the Kurdistan independence referendum

Kurds celebrate after the announcement of the results of the independence referendum in Erbil, Kurdistan region in northern Iraq, 26 September 2017. EFE

Washington DC, Sep 29 (EFE).- The United States government announced Friday that it did not recognize the outcome of the referendum on independence held by the Iraqi Kurdistan region on Monday, a vote that Baghdad and Washington opposed.

The referendum had a 72% participation rate and almost 92% of the votes favored independence.

“The vote and its results lack legitimacy and the United States continues to support a united, federal, democratic and prosperous Iraq,” the State Department said in a statement.

Washington also warned that Kurdistan’s aspirations “can not advance through unilateral measures like this referendum.”

Head of Kurdistan High Electoral Commission Handreen Muhammed Salih (C) speaks during press conference to announce the results of the independence referendum in Erbil, Kurdistan region in northern Iraq, 26 September 2017. EFE

For all this, the United States urged both Baghdad and Erbil – the Kurdish capital – “to calm down and put an end to reciprocal recriminations and threats.”

“We urge the Kurdish authorities to respect the role by constitutional mandate of the central government, and we call on the central government to reject threats and mentions of possible use of force,” the US government added.

Similarly, Washington also urged neighboring countries to “reject unilateral measures and the use of force.”

Washington and other Western powers such as France, Germany and the United Kingdom opposed the referendum because they see Iraq’s unity as key to defeating the Islamic State (IS), a struggle in which the Kurds have played a leading role.

In its statement, the United States urged both Baghdad and Erbil to remain focused on fighting the IS.