Moscow supports Iraq's territorial integrity, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement following a referendum on independence held in Iraqi Kurdistan. Morever, Moscow calls for both Baghdad and Erbil to resolve all the disagreements strongly by peaceful means, the Russian Foreign Ministry added.
"Moscow respects national aspirations of Kurds. We believe that all points at issue between Iraq’s federal authorities and the leadership of the Kurdish Autonomous Region may and should be solved through a constructive and respectful dialogue aimed at developing a mutually acceptable formula of co-existence as part of a unified Iraqi state," the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry stressed that they maintain their support for the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity ofIraq and other countries of the Middle East.
The ministry stresses that it is of key importance now to "avoid everything that poses the risk of further complicating and destabilizing the Middle East region, which is already overburdened with conflicts."
The US is taking similar approaches. U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said that the US does not support the referendum and noted that her country supports a unified, democratic Iraq.
"We expressed our deep concern about that, and also our disappointment that they decided to go ahead and conduct that vote yesterday. We look at that as a unilateral referendum – I don’t think there was a single nation that supported that," she said.
Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced possible assistance to Baghdad for protecting Iraq’s territorial integrity if such a request was made to Turkey.
Iraq’s Kurdistan region held the independence referendum on Monday. According to the Rudaw TV channel, 91.83% of 3.44 million Iraqis voted for creating an independent state. The official results will be announced on Thursday.
The deputy head of the Council of the Russian Diplomats Association, Andrey Baklanov, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that the danger of Kurdistan's secession from Iraq has emerged when the US undertook an operation to overthrow the regime of Saddam Hussein. "We warned our American colleagues than that it could lead to an increased danger of splitting the country and aggravating the relations between its parts," he said.
"I would put political responsibility for the incident not on the internal Iraqi forces, but on the external impact, which made the development of modern Iraq extremely negative. This is the fault of the United States," Andrei Baklanov noted.
First of all, the diplomat stressed that it is necessary to keep Baghdad and Erbil from solving the problem by military means. "There is such a danger, because there is an armed struggle in Iraq, which means that it is possible to change the vector of efforts so that it will continue under the flag of independence instead of the flag of the war on terror. And it cannot be tolerated, because there is an intensification of confrontation in Iraq now, which can indefinitely delay the process of military development of the situation in the Middle East. One could raise the issue of establishing a preparatory mechanism for convening a regional or international conference on the resolution of this issue," the expert suggested.
"We must take very vigorous steps to show the parties to the oncoming conflict the possibility of a political decision. It is very important to develop a system of international guarantees for those agreements that could be achieved. I think first they need to keep all parties from the possibility of applying military force," Andrei Baklanov concluded.