ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – In a statement released on Tuesday, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) stated that they respect the Iraqi Federal Supreme Court's recent interpretation of Article 1 of the constitution regarding secession in Iraq.
The Federal Supreme Court of Iraq issued a decision on Nov. 6 stating that no region or province could unilaterally secede, strengthening the federal government’s hand as it seeks to prevent other movements such as the Sep. 25 independence vote in the Kurdistan Region.
The ruling responded to a request from the Iraqi government in Baghdad to put an end to any “misinterpretation” of the constitution and to “assert the unity of Iraq,” a court spokesman said last week.
“The Republic of Iraq is a federal, independent and fully sovereign state in which the system of government is a parliamentary and democratic republic, and this Constitution is a guarantor of the unity of Iraq,” Article 1 of the Constitution of Iraq reads.
The KRG welcomed the ruling of the court and stated that the Kurdistan Region respected the decision.
“As we, in the Kurdistan Region, have always emphasized on finding solutions to disputes between the federal Authorities and the Kurdistan Region through constitutional and legal means, and based on our known position which welcomes all relevant initiatives, especially the initiatives by the Grand Ayatollah Ali Al- Sistani, Iraqi dignitaries and friendly countries to the Iraqi people regarding addressing disputes on the basis of the Constitution, we respect the interpretation of the Federal Supreme Court of the First Article of the Iraqi Constitution,” read the KRG statement.
The Kurdish government also called on launching a peaceful dialogue between Erbil and Baghdad to address their differences.
“We believe that this Decision must become a basis for starting an inclusive national dialogue between Erbil and Baghdad to resolve all disputes through implementation of all constitutional articles and in a way that guarantees all rights, authorities and status mentioned in the Constitution, since this is the only way to secure the unity of Iraq, as Article 1 stated,” the statement added.
Ties between Erbil and Baghdad have considerably deteriorated following the Sep. 25 referendum on independence for the Kurdistan Region.
On Oct. 16, Iraqi Forces along with the Iranian-backed Shia Hashd al-Shaabi militia launched a military operation and took over Kirkuk and other disputed territories which have been under the protection of the Kurdish Peshmerga Forces in the past few years. Since then, Baghdad has been introducing measures to undermine the Kurdistan Region’s constitutional integrity.
The erasing and renaming of the Kurdistan Region into ‘northern Iraq’ is seemingly becoming a policy enforced by the central government since the holding of the independence referendum. Baghdad is allegedly attempting to dissolve the KRG by trying to deal with provinces individually.
In the draft 2018 budget introduced earlier this month, the bill referred to the Kurdistan Region as ‘the provinces of northern Iraq,’ opting to completely ignore the constitutionally-enshrined terminology and removing Kurdish rights.
Editing by Nadia Riva