BERLIN (Sputnik) — The Kurdish referendum on independence from Iraq could escalate the tensions in the region and destabilize it, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said Tuesday.
"We know that it was important for many Kurds to participate in this expression of free will. At the same time we express deep concerns as this move may further aggravate the unstable situation in the region that has become even more complicated since yesterday," Gabriel said, as quoted by his press service.
"We call on all the sides to avoid any escalation and to refrain from unilateral steps toward the independence or from compulsive actions. Unresolved issues between Erbil and Baghdad should be discussed and solved via dialogue," the German politician added.
On Monday, the independence vote took place in Iraq's autonomous region of Kurdistan as well as in the disputed areas de jure controlled by Baghdad but under de facto control of Kurdish authorities. After 9 percent of votes had been counted, more than 93 percent of voters backed the independence of the region. Iraqi authorities said that the referendum was not legitimate and stressed that they would not conduct talks with the authorities of Iraqi Kurdistan on the issue of the vote