File photo of Iraq Prime Minister, Haider Al-Abadi Photograph:( Others )
The Iraqi government ruled out talks on possible secession for Kurdish-held parts of northern Iraq after a referendum on independence showed strong support for a split.
"We are not ready to discuss or have a dialogue about the results of the referendum because it is unconstitutional," Abadi said in a speech broadcast on state TV on Monday (September 25) night.
Kurdistan Regional Government President Masoud Barzani says the referendum is not binding, but was meant to be a legitimate mandate to negotiate with Baghdad and neighbouring countries over the secession of the region from Iraq.
The vote was expected to deliver a comfortable "yes", and final results should be announced in 72 hours.