Kurdistan Regional Government President Masoud Barzani said today the "yes" vote had won in the independence referendum the KRG held in northern Iraq yesterday.
In a televised address he called on Iraq's central government in Baghdad to engage in "serious dialogue (…) instead of threatening" the KRG with sanctions. Iraq's prime minister has ruled out holding talks on Kurdish independence.
"We may face hardship but we will overcome," Barzani said, calling on world powers "to respect the will of millions of people" who voted in the referendum.
Read: Iraq deploys troops in areas disputed with Kurds
The controversial vote has been met with uneasy by regional and global powers with Turkey and Iran both declaring their plans to close their borders with a future independent Kurdish state.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also threatened to close the Kurdish oil pipeline and prevent the Kurdish region from exporting its oil.
Around five million residents of the Iraqi Kurdish region turned to the ballot boxes to vote for separation from Iraq. News reports said that the turnout rate was 72 per cent.