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Kurdistan pledges to respect Iraq Supreme Court decision on secession

[JURIST] Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) [official website, in Arabic] officials pledged [statement] Tuesday to respect the Iraq Federal Supreme Court's [official website, in Arabic] interpretation of Article I of the Iraq Constitution [text, PDF], effectively agreeing not to secede.

The Iraq Supreme Court stated in its decision last week [JURIST report] that no region within the country may secede from the country. The court interpreted Article I of the Iraq Constitution, the relevant portion of which states that "no provision in the Constitution that allows for the separation" of any region in the country, and stated that the Constitution calls for the preservation of Iraq's unity.

In its pledge to respect the Supreme Court's decision, the KRG stated:

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.

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.

Ties between the KRG and Iraq Central Government have considerably deteriorated since the September referendum on independence [JURIST report] for the Kurdistan Region. In October Iraq military forces took control of the disputed regions Kirkuk and other areas which have been under the protection of the Kurdish Peshmerga Forces. Iraq has been introducing measures such as renaming the Kurdistan region to "northern Iraq" [Kurdistan 24 report] in an effort to undermine Kurdish rights.

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