Morocco Denounces Kurdistan Independence Vote as Threat to Iraqi Territorial Integrity

Rabat – Morocco has expressed its opposition to the independence of the Iraqi region of Kurdistan, following a referendum in which the local population massively voted for separation from Iraq.On Thursday,  the Moroccan government spokesperson Mustapha El Khalfi said that the kingdom is against the move, which he said “threatens Iraq’s security and territorial integrity.”The Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not yet released any statement about the independence vote of the Iraqi region. El Khalfi affirmed during his weekly press conference that “Morocco’s position vis-à-vis the territorial unity and security of Iraq remains unchanged,” calling it one of the fundamental positions of Moroccan foreign policy.The government spokesperson pointed to King Mohammed VI’s speech to the Morocco-GCC summit in April 2016, in which he called for a general mobilization to counter attempts to “divide” the Arab world.“This summit is being held at a difficult time. The Arab region is being rocked by attempts to change regimes and divide states, as is the case in Syria, Iraq, and Libya,” said the monarch.“What has been described as the Arab Spring has caused destruction, chaos and human tragedies,” he stated, adding that the region had witnessed “attempts to lay hands on what remains of Arab countries’ resources and spoil successful experiences, like that of Morocco.”On Wednesday,  results of the referendum revealed that 92 percent of Kurds voted for independence.While Kurds have largely been celebrating the results, the Iraqi government is considering military action against Kurdistan, especially as Baghdad and Erbil are in dispute over some areas, especially the oil rich region of Kirkuk.The Kurdistan militias of the Peshmerga took control of the region in 2014, after the Iraqi army fled ISIS fighters advancing towards the city.The Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi vowed to use the “tools offered by the constitution and the law” to impose Baghdad’s authority on the region.“We will impose our federal authority all over Iraq, including the Kurdistan region, as per the power of the constitution and law”, said Abadi on Thursday in a speech to the Iraqi parliament.

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