Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar Abadi on Thursday dismissed an offer from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to freeze the outcome of a vote for independence, insisted on cancelling the vote all together.
"We will accept nothing but the annulment of the referendum and respect for the constitution," Abadi said in a statement released by his Baghdad office as he holds talks in neighboring Iran.
Abadi's demand was also backed by Ankara, which had opposed the referendum along with neighboring Iran. Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said that it is not enough for the KRG to freeze the referendum and it should be cancelled altogether for relations to turn to normal and measures to be lifted.
In a statement released Wednesday, the KRG said: "As Iraq and Kurdistan are faced with grave and dangerous circumstances, we are all obliged to act responsibly in order to prevent further violence and clashes between Iraqi and Peshmerga forces."
"Clashes have caused damage to both sides and could lead to continuous bloodshed, inflicting pain and causing social unrest among the different components of the Iraqi society," it added.
"Certainly, continued fighting does not lead any side to victory, but it will drive the country toward disarray and chaos, affecting all aspects of life," the statement went on to say.
It concluded by calling for an immediate cease-fire and a halt to all military operations in the region and urged dialogue between the autonomous region and the Iraqi central government.
The KRG has found itself alienated as no Western allies supported its independence bid.