Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid Muallem has rejected a controversial independence referendum by Iraq’s Kurds being held on Monday as “unacceptable,” saying Damascus only recognized a unified Iraq.
Iraqi Kurds are voting Monday in a non-binding referendum on independence that has been opposed by virtually every country in the region, as well their international allies.
Syrian state news agency SANA quoted Muallem as saying on Sunday that Damascus “does not recognize anything but a unified Iraq.” “We reject any action that leads to the fragmentation of Iraq,” he said.
“This step is unacceptable and we do not recognize it,” he added, saying he had discussed his government’s position with Iraq’s foreign minister.
The Syrian Al-Watan newspaper also quoted foreign ministry official Ayman Soussan criticizing the vote on Monday. “This is the result of American policies that seek to break apart the countries of the region and create conflicts between their parts,” adding that the referendum “harms Iraq and the Kurdish brothers”.