Iraqi Kurds seek talks after federal court bars secession

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Iraqi Kurds seek talks after federal court bars secession

Kurdish authorities said on Tuesday they respect the Iraqi Federal Supreme Court's recent interpretation of Article 1 of the constitution regarding secession in Iraq, signaling a new phase in efforts to restart stalled negotiations over its future.

More than 90 percent of voters approved independence in the non-binding referendum, which was rejected by Iraq's central government and its neighbors.

The court ruling came in response to a request from the central government in Baghdad to end any "wrong misinterpretation" of the Iraqi constitution and assert the country's unity. Its decisions can not be appealed, though it has no mechanism to enforce its ruling in the Kurdish region.

On Sept. 25, Iraqis in the KRG - and in a number of disputed areas - voted on whether to secede from Iraq and declare independence. These areas lie outside of the Kurdish region and are claimed by both Erbil and Baghdad.

The vote also raised hackles in neighboring Turkey and Iran, which have their own Kurdish minorities.

U.S. president Donald Trump's special envoy to the anti-ISIL coalition, Brett McGurk, on Tuesday praised Erbil's efforts in trying to resolve the dispute.

The US has backed Kurdish forces fighting ISIL in both Iraq and Syria.

"The success of security forces should be supported by solving the ongoing problems between the central government and the KRG, and constructive dialogue needs to be initiated to maintain the national gains", Masoum said.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had previously called on the Kurdish region to honor the court ruling.

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