In Rudaw 

‘Tillerson renewed US rejection to the Kurdish referendum’ – Iraqi PM

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke about the Kurdish referendum, the successes achieved in the battle for Mosul, Iraqi-Peshmerga forces’ cooperation, and regional issues, according to a statement from the PM’s office.

“Tillerson renewed United States rejection to the Kurdish referendum, assuring unifying the efforts with the central government to face the challenges of the stability and rebuilding after completing liberation battles,” reads the PM Office’s statement on the Friday night call.

According to Abadi’s office, he “stressed the importance of benefiting from the successful experience of cooperation between the army and Peshmerga in the battles of liberating Mosul, pointing out the need to unify the efforts and mobilize international efforts to support the financial, economic and state institutions.”

The two leaders also discussed Abadi’s recent visits to Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Kuwait.

“[Abadi] assured that Iraqi’s view is very clear attempting to avoid wars and conflicts in the reign, serious move assured culturally and historically, developing mutual economic benefits among nations of the region and its countries,” reads the PM’s statement.

It added that Tillerson congratulated Abadi “on the successes achieved in the battle to liberate Mosul” and “affirmed the necessity of the exerting the efforts to eliminate Daesh [ISIS] terror gangs, and not be part of indirect war.”

There was no immediate readout of the conversation from the US State Department. Tillerson has been meeting foreign leaders in East Asia.

Earlier this month the State Department spokeswoman for the United States expressed that the referendum on independence for the Kurdistan Region would distract from the defeat of ISIS.

“We support a unified, stable and a federal Iraq,” said Heather Nauert. “We appreciate and understand the legitimate aspirations of the people of the Iraqi Kurdistan.”

Nauert warned that the referendum could distract from the final defeat of ISIS.

“We have expressed our concerns to the authorities in the Kurdistan Region, but holding a referendum even a non-binding resolution at this time would distract from urgent priorities and that be the defeat of ISIS, the stabilization, the return of displaced people, managing of the region’s economic crisis, and resolving the region’s internal political disputes,” she said.

Kurdish President Masoud Barzani and Tillerson had a telephone call on June 1, less than a week before the Kurdistan Region announced its plans to hold a referendum on independence for September 25.

According to Fuad Hussein, the chief of staff to the Kurdish Presidency, US officials have said they would not oppose a referendum “if there is negotiation with Baghdad. Negotiations with Baghdad should start. And they don’t have a problem with it if we reach a result with Baghdad.”