Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) The United Kingdom had told Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani that the September referendum on independence from Iraq was a mistake, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s office said Thursday.
“The British government is aware that the referendum was a mistake, and I had told Mr. Masud Barzani so before he took that step. The U.K. wanted to dissuade him,” Abadi’s media office quoted British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson as telling Abadi in a phone call.
Kurdistan region said last month 92% of voters, with a turnout of nearly 73%, backed independence from Iraq during the poll held on 25th.The referendum has been widely disapproved by major world powers, including the United Nations, the European Union, the United States, Turkey and Iran.
Baghdad insists that the poll was a violation of the constitution, while Erbil sought to make it a basis for future talks on disputed issues.
The Iraq government has adopted a set of punitive measures against Erbil, including closures of borders and airspaces, and, most recently, a military takeover of Kirkuk, the province to which Erbil and Baghdad claim sovereignty.
On Wednesday, U.K. Foreign Office minister for the Middle East, Alistair Burt, said the United Kingdom supports equitable social representation in Kirkuk province governance, urging Iraq and Kurdish sides to reduce tensions.