BAGHDAD, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- The office of the Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Monday welcomed the verdict of the federal court to invalidate the Sept. 25 independence referendum of the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan and the disputed areas.
A statement by Abadi's office said the court decision "came as reinforcement to the government's constitutional stance in the extension of the federal authority."
"We call on everyone to respect the constitution and to act under its roof in resolving all controversial issues and avoid taking any step contrary to the constitution and the law," the statement said.
Earlier in the day, the Iraqi Supreme Federal Court issued a verdict ruling that "the September 25 referendum, in Kurdistan region and the disputed areas outside the region, was unconstitutional," Ayas al-Samouk, head of the court's media office, said in a brief statement.
The court also nullified all the effects and the consequences of the referendum, Samouk added.
A few hours later, the Kurdish regional Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani said the court's decision to invalidate the independence referendum was "unilateral."
"The Supreme Federal Court reached verdict without attendance of representatives from the Kurdistan Region," Barzani said in a press conference.
He said the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) continues its efforts to launch dialogue with the government of Iraq to resolve the issues on the basis of Iraqi constitution.
"KRG's stance is very clear. Before and after the referendum we have always said that if the Iraqi constitution is implemented we'd have no disputes with Baghdad, but the constitution must be implemented by its entire articles," Barzani said.
Furthermore, Barzani said that there is a need for a third party to be present during talks between Baghdad and Erbil to help interpreting of the constitution.
Earlier, Baghdad rejected an offer from Iraqi Kurdish leaders to freeze the outcome of the referendum and to launch dialogue to resolve the problems between Baghdad and Erbil, instead Iraq's Abadi insisted on demanding the annulment of the independence vote before any dialogue between the two sides.
Tensions have been running high between Baghdad and the region of Kurdistan after the Kurds held a controversial referendum on the independence of the Kurdistan region and the disputed areas on Sept. 25.
The independence of Kurdistan is opposed not only by the Iraqi central government, but also by other countries as it would threaten the integrity of Iraq and undermine the fight against IS militants.
Iraq's neighboring countries, especially Turkey, Iran and Syria, fear that the Iraqi Kurds' pursuit of independence threatens their territorial integrity, as large Kurdish populations live in those countries.