“As Iraq and Kurdistan are faced with grave and dangerous circumstances, we are all obliged to act responsibly in order to prevent further violence and clashes between Iraqi and Peshmerga forces,” the statement of the Kurdistan Regional Government issued on 25 October says.

The authorities of the region also add that “attacks and confrontations” between the Iraqi army and Peshmerga forces have already caused damage to both sides but stress that “continued fighting does not lead any side to victory, but it will drive the country towards disarray and chaos affecting all aspects of life”.

With regard to the situation, the regional government has offered Baghdad to halt all military operations in the area and called to enter into a dialogue on the basis of the Constitution.

The tension between two sides has risen considerably after the last month’s referendum on independence, where the Iraqi Kurds overwhelmingly voted for secession from Baghdad. A unilateral decision to hold a referendum was criticized not only by the federal government of Iraq but Turkey and the US. In its statement, the State Department said that the US does not recognize the results of the referendum and “continue to support a united, federal and democratic Iraq”.

On October 25, the Iraqi army took full control of the oil-rich province of Kirkuk, a multi-ethnic city and home to about a million Arabs, Kurds, Muslims and Christians.