The United Nations has called on the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to abide by a top court ruling that declared the recent secession referendum in northern Iraq unconstitutional.
On Monday, Iraq’s Supreme Federal Court, which is responsible for settling disputes between the central government in Baghdad and the country’s regions, announced it had made a “decision to consider the Kurdish region’s referendum unconstitutional and this ruling is final.”
It also decided to annul “all the consequences and results” of the plebiscite which was held on September 25 in defiance of strong objection from both Baghdad and Iraq’s neighbors, particularly Iran and Turkey.
On Tuesday, the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) urged the KRG authorities “to acknowledge and respect” the verdict and the Iraqi constitution.
The UN mission also demanded that Baghdad and Erbil engage in negotiations without delay within the framework of the constitution and discuss issues ranging from the control of borders and the reopening of airports to the federal budget, the payment of salaries and the management of oil exports.
Speaking on Monday, KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani called the top court ruling “unilateral” and claimed that it had been reached without the presence of KRG representatives.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, however, welcomed the verdict in a statement, saying, “We call upon everybody to ... avoid taking any step which violates the constitution and law.”
On November 6, Iraq’s Supreme Federal Court ruled that no region or province can break away from the mainland. The KRG said last week it would respect that order and expressed hope that the decision will set the stage for Baghdad-Erbil dialog.
The Iraqi government responded to the controversial Kurdish vote by conducting a military campaign to retake the areas overrun by the Kurdish militants in the course of the fight with the Daesh terrorists. It also banned direct flights to the semi-autonomous Kurdish region and demanded control over border crossings.