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    Banners calling for voting in a referendum on Iraqi Kurdistan independence from Baghdad in Erbil

    Iraqi Gov't Ready to Talk to Kurdistan if It Cancels Referendum Results

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    Iraqi Kurdistan's Independence Referendum (53)
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    Iraqi Ambassador to Russia Haidar Mansour Hadi has said that the federal government is ready for an "open dialogue" with Kurdish officials but only in case Erbil cancels the results of the referendum, where over 90 percent of voters supported the idea of independence from Iraq.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The Iraqi government is in favor of continuing dialogue with the Kurdistan region, but only if the results of the independence referendum are not taken into account, Haidar Mansour Hadi said Tuesday.

    "It's very difficult to continue the dialogue when the results [of the referendum] have been accepted. It should be an open dialogue, but without adopting the results of the referendum, as it was illegal," Hadi said at a news conference in the Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency.

    The ambassador stressed that Baghdad did not accept the results of the referendum. Hadi added that Baghdad hoped "until the last moment" that the authorities of Iraqi Kurdistan "would refuse to make such a step." He noted that negotiations between Erbil and Baghdad were underway and that addressing the country's constitution might prove beneficial for the settlement.

    The tensions between the federal government and the autonomous region were high following the September 25 referendum. More than 90 percent of voters taking part in the referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan backed the region's independence from Baghdad. Iraqi authorities declared the referendum illegal, while Turkey and Iran criticized the vote amid fears that it might strengthen separatist feelings in their own ethnic Kurdish minorities.

    However, the diplomat remained optimistic about the situation in the country, calling tensions a temporary situation that would be resolved after the Kurds complied with the Iraqi constitution of 2005, the writing of which they had participated in.

    Hadi also pointed out that foreign investors' interest in Iraq has not been affected by the bilateral tensions within the state, calling the situation stable.

    He also said that Baghdad believes that any military conflict between people living in Iraq is unacceptable and will make every effort to avoid it. He pointed out that the Iraqi federal government considers the Kurdish-populated region of Kirkuk, which voted in the independence referendum, a part of Iraq, which should obey the central government. He noted that the government strongly opposed any attempts to grant any special status to this region.

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    Iraqi Kurdistan's Independence Referendum (53)

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    referendum, conference, independence, Haidar Mansour Hadi, Iraqi Kurdistan, Iraq
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