Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Sunday Baghdad would take the "necessary measures" to protect Iraqi unity and will not recognize the result of the Kurdish Regional Government's (KRG) planned referendum.
"To take a unilateral decision affecting the unity of Iraq and its security, and the security of the region, with a referendum on separation, is unconstitutional and against civil peace. We will take the necessary measures to preserve the unity of the country," Abadi said in a televised address.
Earlier on Sunday, KRG leader Masoud Barzani that the controversial referendum scheduled for Sept. 25 will be held as planned despite calls from Baghdad, neighboring countries and the international community for suspension or termination of the process.
Iraqi Kurds in provinces controlled by the KRG in northern Iraq, including those who are contested between the central government and KRG, are set to head to polls on Monday to vote in a controversial referendum on whether to secede from Iraq.
Along with Baghdad, Turkey, the U.S., Iran and the U.N. have all spoken out against the poll, saying it will only distract from the ongoing fight against Daesh and further destabilize the region.
Iraq's central government has threatened to intervene militarily if the vote leads to violence.
Barzani has said a "Yes" vote would not result in an automatic declaration of independence but would simply lead to further negotiations with Baghdad.
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