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Iraqi Kurds Pledge to Respect Court Ruling Banning Secession

The parliament building of Iraq's Kurdistan region is seen in Irbil, northern Iraq, Oct. 29, 2017. Angry Kurds stormed the building Sunday after Iraqi Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani announced he was stepping down as president of the self-ruled region.

Iraqi Kurdish authorities said Tuesday they will respect a Supreme Court decision banning secession.

The development comes two months after voters in the semi-autonomous region overwhelmingly voted in support of an independence referendum. Iraq's central government rejected the vote, saying it violated the constitution.

"We believe that this decision must become a basis for starting an inclusive national dialogue between Erbil and Baghdad to resolve all disputes through implementation of all constitutional articles and in a way that guarantees all rights, authorities and status mentioned in the Constitution, since this is the only way to secure the unity of Iraq," the Kurdistan Regional Government said in its statement.

Since the referendum, Iraqi forces moved to reclaim control of much of the territory the Kurds had held for years after pushing out Islamic State fighters. As Kurdish authorities and those in Baghdad continued to spar over the push for independence, Kurdish President Masoud Barzani stepped down.