Iraq's Shi'ite ruling coalition would oppose Kurdish plans to hold a referendum on independence after the defeat of Islamic State، its president، Ammar al-Hakim، has said.
Speaking to Reuters in an interview in Cairo، Hakim advised the Kurds against any unilateral move to annex a disputed oil-rich region which they had gained during the war against the jihadists.
"If this referendum happens، it will be unilateral،" said Hakim، who is president of the National Alliance، a coalition of the main Shi'ite political groups including Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's Dawa party.
"We will insist on dialogue" as a mean to resolve the disagreement، the influential cleric said when asked what the Shi'ite parties would do if the Kurds insist on holding the referendum.
"We believe that the politics of accomplished facts and drawing borders with blood hasn't succeeded in any country of the world and won't have good results in Iraq either."
Iraq's majority Shi'ite Arab community is located mainly in the south while the Kurds and the Sunni Arabs live in opposite corners of the north. The center around Baghdad is mixed.
Iraq's main Kurdish parties announced this month a plan to hold a referendum on independence this year.
The Kurds say the expected "yes" outcome will strengthen their hand in talks on self-determination with Baghdad and would not mean automatically declaring independence.