Former Iraqi premier and head of the Iraqiya bloc Iyad Allawi on Friday said it is "too early" to form additional autonomous regions along the lines of Kurdistan in the country's north.
The Salaheddin provincial council voted on October 27 for the Sunni-majority province to become an autonomous region, sparking a furious reaction from Baghdad.
"The call to form regions ... is too early," Allawi told AFP during a visit to Arbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan.
He noted that while there is a provision for forming new regions in the constitution, "we know that if we enter into this matter, there will be conflicts on the administrative borders, wealth, gas and oil in the country."
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"Hurrying in forming regions is like putting oil on the fire," he said, referring to unstable situation in the country.
"Iraq now needs organisations to protect its unity, sovereignty and security," he said.
He also called for dialogue over the oil-rich Kirkuk province, which Iraqi Kurdistan wants to incorporate against Baghdad's wishes.
"It is important to adopt dialogue and understanding in dealing with the Kirkuk problem," he said.
Allawi, a secular Shiite, was prime minister in a transitional government from 2004 to 2005.
His Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc won the most parliamentary seats in 2010 polls, but Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki nonetheless gained a second term as premier.