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Iraq's Kurdish leader vows to conduct independence referendum

17 Сентября, 2017, 01:00 | Author: Christina Hansen
  • SAFIN HAMED

Iraqi President Fuad Masum on Saturday launched an initiative between the political leaders in Baghdad and Erbil to resolve the crisis of holding referendum on the independence of the Kurdistan region and disputed areas slated for September 25.

Western officials have once again pressed on Kurdish leaders to cancel the 25 September independence referendum by threatening not to grant worldwide legitimacy to the elections.

The White House urged Iraq's Kurdish leaders to cancel the September 25 vote on independence, saying the move is a distraction from the efforts to defeat Daesh.

"We therefore call on the Kurdistan Regional Government to call off the referendum and enter into serious and sustained dialogue with Baghdad, which the United States has repeatedly indicated it is prepared to facilitate".

Last Thursday, Iraqi lawmakers voted to remove Kirkuk Governor Najmiddin Karim from his post based on a request by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

Hashmatullah

Kurdish leaders have come under increasing pressure from key ally the United States, as well as neighboring Turkey and Iran, to call off the vote fearing it could plunge the region into greater instability as the fight against the Islamic State group grinds to a close.

The parliament met in the KRG capital, Erbil, in northern Iraq.

"We said before, but the time is now late for that, that if there was a better and more guaranteed alternative in place of referendum. then we welcome that. Nobody brought a better alternative", Barzani told people in the Nineveh Plains attending an event in support of the referendum.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said in an interview on Friday that Barzani's decision not to postpone the referendum was "very wrong".

Baghdad has condemned the referendum, calling it "unconstitutional" and "unilateral".

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In recent years, there have been tensions between Baghdad and Kurdistan over power-sharing, oil revenues and territorial disputes.

"Those assembled in parliament today think this is a lawful session, but this is unlawful", Birzu Majeed, the head of Gorran's parliamentary block, told a news conference held while parliament was in session.

Disagreements between Baghdad and the Kurdish regional government have been high for years, as the ethnic Kurds consider the northern oil-rich province of Kirkuk and parts of Nineveh, Diyala and Salahudin provinces as disputed areas and want them to be incorporated into their region.

Germany also renewed its opposition to the unilateral independence referendum. It is claimed by both the Kurds and the central government in Baghad.

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