World, Middle East

Iraqi VP warns against 'second Israel' in northern Iraq

Nouri al-Maliki says planned referendum will harm 'security, sovereignty and unity of Iraq'

Iraqi VP warns against 'second Israel' in northern Iraq FILE PHOTO - Iraqi Vice President Nouri al-Maliki


Iraq will not allow the creation of a "second Israel" in northern Iraq, Vice President Nouri al-Maliki said on Sunday. 

Maliki made the remarks in a meeting with US Ambassador to Iraq, Douglas Silliman, in the capital Baghdad, during which the two discussed a number of issues including the Kurdish independence referendum, according to his office. 

"We will not allow the creation of a second Israel in northern Iraq,” said the Iraqi vice president in opposition to Israel after the latter voiced support for an independent Kurdish state on Thursday. 

The controversial referendum slated for Sept. 25, results of which will be non-binding, will see residents of the northern Kurdish region vote on whether or not to declare independence from Iraq.

Maliki warned that the referendum will have "dangerous consequences for the security, sovereignty and unity of Iraq". 

Baghdad, however, rejects the planned poll, saying it will adversely affect the fight against the Daesh terrorist group, which still maintains a significant presence in northern Iraq.

The Iraqi government also contends that holding the poll would violate the terms of the country's 2005 national charter.

Turkey, too, rejects the planned referendum, saying the region’s stability depends on the maintenance of Iraq’s unity and territorial integrity.

*Reporting by Haydar Hadi; Writing by Burcu Arik 

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