Arab League Secretary-General Asks Barzani To Reconsider Referendum – Report

Arab League Secretary-General Asks Barzani To Reconsider Referendum – Report

Arab League Secretary-General, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, asked Masoud Barzani in a “private message” to reconsider a planned referendum set for September 25, Asharq al-Awsat reported on Thursday (August 3).

Arab diplomatic sources said Aboul Gheit has sent a letter to Barzani warning that the referendum would convey a negative message to non-Kurdish people in the country and that it would pave the way for divisions, according to Asharq al-Awsat.  

Arab League secretary-general stressed such move taken “without national consensus and without coordination and agreement with the government in Baghdad may aggravate the situation and push all parties to take tough positions that don’t serve the future of Iraqis, including the Kurds.”

“It should be noted that Islamic State has infiltrated into the society under specific circumstances that should not be repeated,” Aboul Gheit added quoted by Asharq al-Awsat.

He further said that authorities should engage “immediately and without delay in serious and continuous efforts to achieve comprehensive reconciliation among the Iraqi people.”

Secretary-general of Arab League also urged Barzani in the letter to deploy efforts to meet the Kurds’ rights and preserve them in accordance with the Iraqi constitution, Sharq al-Awsat reported.

The Kurdistan Region declared on June 7 a plan to hold a referendum on the region’s independence this year on September 25. The announcement came after a meeting between the region’s political parties, not including the Change Movement (Gorran) and the Kurdistan Islamic Group (KIG).

Kurds say the expected "yes" outcome would strengthen their hand in talks on self-determination with Baghdad, and would not automatically mean declaring independence.

The decision by the Kurdistan Region’s authorities has concerned Iraq, the United States, Britain, Russia, Germany, Turkey and Iran.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi restated on July 18 that a decision by Kurdish authorities to hold a referendum on the independence of Kurdistan is “unconstitutional.”