Britain’s foreign secretary said Monday in Baghdad he hoped Scotland’s decision to remain in the United Kingdom would inspire Iraqis to remain united.
Scotland voted to reject independence last month after a close referendum campaign in which it had looked like the “Yes” camp could snatch a surprise victory.
Many Iraqis in the northern autonomous region of Kurdistan — whose president has vowed to hold a referendum on self-determination — followed the campaign keenly.
With Iraq on the brink of collapse since the Islamic State jihadist group launched a devastating offensive in June, the idea of a breakup has gained traction, especially in overwhelmingly separatist Kurdistan.
The foreign secretary also met Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi and several other senior officials during his one-day trip.
Amid growing concern that Iraqi forces are unable to turn the tide on jihadist expansion despite foreign air strikes, Hammond reiterated Britain’s support but ruled out a ground intervention.