Iraqi Kurds back away from independence bid

(CNN)The government of Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region has taken another step back from its failed bid for independence, accepting a national court ruling that its disputed referendum was unconstitutional.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), based in Erbil, said in a statement it would respect the Federal Supreme Court’s ruling on November 6. It called for talks with the government in Baghdad to resolve tensions over the region’s constitutional status.
“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,” the KRG said in the statement.
“This is the only way to secure the unity of Iraq.”
Iraq’s Kurds voted overwhelmingly for independence in September in defiance of the central government in Baghdad, which had declared the referendum illegal.
The vote also raised hackles in neighboring Turkey and Iran, which have their own Kurdish minorities.
The concession over the court ruling marks the Kurds’ latest attempt to revive negotiations with central government, which imposed retaliatory measures following the independence vote.
Those measures included an October offensive by Iraqi government forces, backed by Shia militia, to take the oil-producing city of Kirkuk from the KRG.

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