(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) BAGHDAD, Aug 1 (KUNA) -- Iraqi President Fuad Masum stated Tuesday the planned referendum on the proposed secession of the northern Kurdish region from Iraq did not amount to a declaration of independence.
"Holding a referendum based on mutual understanding does not amount to a declaration of independence per se," Masum said during a meeting with foreign diplomats at Baghdad Salam Palace.
He stressed that the differences between Baghdad and Irbil should be resolved through dialogue.
"Iraq's central government and the Kurdish region should look to the [Iraqi] constitution with a view to finding a middle ground," said Masum, noting that Article 140 of the constitution is devoted specifically to "disputed territories." On September 25, the Kurdish Regional Government plans to hold a referendum on whether the region should formally seek independence from the central government in Baghdad.
On July 26, Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar Al-Abadi said the upcoming referendum would constitute a violation of Iraq's constitution and that referendum results would therefore be considered invalid. (end) ahh.amm.ibi