No talks until Kurds cancel referendum result

Kurdish flag

Kurdish flag

On Thursday, the spokesman for the global coalition fighting IS in Iraq and neighbouring Syria said the referendum had taken focus away from the war against the jihadists.

The government reaffirmed its "full support for the government and people of Iraq" and added that Pakistan is concerned at attempts aimed at threatening the territorial integrity of Iraq or any other country in the region.

He slammed the reckless and irresponsible approach adopted by some officials in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region, warning that lack of due attention to security exigencies of Iraq would divert attention away from the fight against Takfiri terrorism as the main threat to the region.

Baghdad ordered the suspension of global flights to and from Iraqi Kurdistan from Friday in retaliation for the Kurds voting for independence earlier last week.

A newly-formed council of Political Leadership of Kurdistan - Iraq on Sunday replaced the High Referendum Council for Kurdistan region after the latter ended its mission of holding referendum on independence of the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan.

"Iraqi and Iranian units began exercises at 11:00 a.m. with tanks and infantry only 250 meters (820 feet) from the border", said Shwan Abu Bakr, the Kurdish customs chief at the Bashmakh border post.

Washington said earlier it would be willing to facilitate talks between the Iraqi Kurdish authorities and Baghdad to calm escalating tensions over the 92-percent "yes" vote. King adds they would be a long-term ally of the USA and could be called upon to protect the rights of religious minorities if they choose independence.

The Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) on Monday welcomed a call by prominent Shia cleric Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani for dialogue between Baghdad and Erbil following a controversial independence referendum. Respondents in the meeting rejected Baghdad's request to cancel the vote. "I understand why those who support Hamas want to blame the Mossad for every issue that isn't comfortable for them", he said.

The US, major European countries and nearby Turkey and Iran all opposed the referendum as destabilising at a time when all sides are still fighting the militant Islamic State (IS) group. Today, Iraqi Kurdistan's transport ministry sent a letter to Baghdad asking to "open negotiations" on flights but was still awaiting a reply, a ministry spokesman said.

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