US Does Not Recognize Iraqi Kurdistan Referendum: Tillerson

by Abel Hampton October 2, 2017, 0:41
US Does Not Recognize Iraqi Kurdistan Referendum: Tillerson

Officials in Baghdad said the flights would resume if the central government received control of Kurdistan's airports.

"With its independence initiative, the northern Iraq regional government has thrown itself into the fire", he said in a speech to police officers at his palace in Ankara. "If [the KRG] want to start talks, they must cancel the referendum and its outcome".

Why has Baghdad issued an ultimatum?

When colonial powers drew the map of the Middle East after World War I, the Kurds, who now number around 30 million, were divided among Turkey, Iran, Syria and Iraq.

The Kurdistan Regional Government administers a semi-autonomous region in northern Iraq. "We do not understand yet what are the things the airport has not implemented", Faeq said, adding that civil aviation must not be dragged into political matters.

"We assure the global community of our willingness to engage in dialogue with Baghdad", he said, insisting the referendum was not meant "to delimit the border [between Kurdistan and Iraq], nor to impose it de facto".

The director of Arbil airport, Talar Faiq Salih, earlier said humanitarian, military and diplomatic flights have been excluded from the ban.

"So this airport is meant to be for everything", he said.

A day after the Iraqi government imposed a ban on global flights to airports operated by the Kurdistan Regional Government, Iraqi troops on Saturday began an operation to seize the semiautonomous region's border controls.

How have Iraq's neighbours reacted?

He said that at a high-level meeting of Iranian commanders, "necessary decisions were taken to provide security at the borders and welcome Iraq's central government forces to take position at border crossings". That could result in a key pipeline from the Kirkuk region, which provides the KRG with more than 80% of its income, being cut off.

However, the BBC's Mark Lowen in Irbil says there is no appetite for fresh conflict. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement that the Kurds should instead accept the alternative of engaging in negotiations with Baghdad, and that those talks be facilitated by the USA, the United Nations and other partners.

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