Iraq PM says will take 'necessary measures' to protect unity

BAGHDAD: Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Sunday Baghdad would take the "necessary measures" to protect Iraqi unity, speaking on the eve of an independence referendum in the Kurdish autonomous region.

"To take a unilateral decision affecting the unity of Iraq and its security, and the security of the region, with a referendum on separation is unconstitutional and against civil peace," Abadi said in a televised address.

"We will take the necessary measures to preserve the unity of the country," he said without elaborating.

"We will not abandon the Kurdish citizens. We have rejected the sectarian state and we reject a racial state," Abadi added, referring to both the Islamic State group and Kurdistan.

"Iraq will remain for all Iraqis. We will not allow it to become a possession of one or the other, and we will not permit anyone to play with Iraq and not pay the consequences." — AFP