Independence does not serve Kurdish or Iraqi interests, PM Abadi says

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published

Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi said on Tuesday that the Kurdistan Regional Government's (KRG) decision to hold a independence referendum "doesn't serve" neither Iraqi or Kurdish interests.

Speaking at a weekly press conference in Baghdad, al-Abadi said that the referendum decision may "seriously harm all gains acquired until now," adding that neighborhood countries also do not approve of an independent state.

"Amid the intense fight against Daesh and the complicated situation in the region, this referendum would serve neither the Kurdish people nor the Iraqi government's interest. Also, some of our neighbors see this idea as national security threat," al-Abadi said.

Previously, KRG officials announced that the independence referendum will likely be held until end of this year.

Al-Abadi also reiterated that the central government does not accept the Kirkuk Provincial Council's (KPC) unilateral decision regarding raising the KRG flag at governmental buildings in the province.

"The governmental buildings in Kirkuk are affiliated with the Iraqi central government. Therefore, the flag decision is unlawful," he said.

In early April, the Kirkuk governorate requested that the KPC raise the KRG flag alongside the Iraqi flag at local institutions and instated the use of Kurdish alongside Arabic. The KPC adopted a decision to raise the KRG flag in government buildings in a session boycotted by Arab and Turkmen members.

Yazidi commander announces new party, criticizes PKK

The Yazidi Democratic Party has been formed in order to guarantee the rights of all Yazidi people in the Iraq and Kurdistan region, the region's prominent Yazidi figure, Haydar Shesho, announced on Tuesday.

Speaking to an Anadolu Agency correspondent, Shesho, the commander of the Protection Force of Ezidkhan (HPE, also known as HPŞ), said that he received necessary permission from the Iraqi government to form a new party and declared himself as the general-secretary of the newly-formed Yazidi Democratic Party.

"Our party will strive to guarantee the rights of all Yazidis in the region," he said.

The Yazidi commander also reacted to the PKK terrorist organization's presence in Sinjar.

"Our laws do not permit the presence of illegal organizations in Iraqi territories. Therefore, we wish for their withdrawal as soon possible," he said.

Shesho also said that because the Yazidi people have been living in disputed territories between the KRG and the Iraqi central government, he appealed to the latter for permission. However, the party also appealed to the KRG to operate in their land too, he added.

Meanwhile, Qasim Dirbo, a peshmerga commander in Sinjar, said earlier this week that 50 senior Yazidi PKK members, both military and political, have recently left the terrorist group in Iraq's Sinjar district.

The HPE is the largest, but less active, Yazidi militia led by Shesho. It was attached to the KRG's Peshmerga Ministry in 2017 as a separate unit with its own insignia and 2,500 armed men.

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