Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on Wednesday rejected an assertion by the country’s autonomous Kurdish region that its control of disputed territory is here to stay.
“No one has the right to exploit the events that took place to impose a fait accompli, as happened in some of the actions of the Kurdistan region. This is rejected,” Maliki said in televised remarks.
He was responding to remarks by regional president Massud Barzani last week that there was no going back on Kurdish rule in the oil-rich northern city of Kirkuk and other towns now defended by Kurdish fighters against Sunni militants.
Kurdish forces moved in to Kirkuk and several other areas when federal forces withdrew in the face of a jihadist-led offensive last month.
Barzani later told the BBC in an interview that Iraq’s Kurds will hold an independence referendum within months, telling the broadcaster that the time was right as Iraq was already effectively partitioned.