Sunday, 24 September, 2017

Kurdistan parliament approves independence referendum for September 25

Kurdish leaders studying western delegation plan to delay referendum Iraq dismisses Kirkuk governor amid dispute with Kurds
Elias Hubbard | 17 September, 2017, 01:01

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in a live interview with Turkish broadcaster A Haber late Friday that Turkey would announce its plan regarding the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) independence referendum in the near future.

The US officially declared its opposition to the Iraqi Kurdish independence referendum on Saturday, as the Kurdistan parliament unanimously voted in favour of holding it on 25 September.

It also called on the regional government "to seize this opportunity and to enter into serious negotiations with Baghdad".

An overwhelming majority of Kurdish MPs raised their hands to approve the plan, during the first session held by the parliament since it was suspended two years ago.

"The referendum is distracting from efforts to defeat Daesh and stabilize the liberated areas", it added.

But Kurdish region President Masud Barzani has said the vote is necessary because "all other bids" to secure full Kurdish rights "have failed".

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.

Gorran, the main opposition movement to Barzani's Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), boycotted the parliament session in Erbil.

Voters will face one question, asked in Kurdish, Arabic, Turkmen, and Assyrian: "Do you want the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) and Kurdistani territories that are outside KRI to become an independent state?" "Nobody brought a better alternative", Barzani told people in the Nineveh Plains attending an event in support of the referendum.

"We will announce our plan regarding the KRG referendum after the National Security Council meeting on September 22", Erdoğan said, adding that KRG leader Masoud Barzani's was "very, very wrong".

Urging new talks between Iraq's central Baghdad government and the KRG, the office in a statement said the referendum would risk stability in the region.

"Even if the independence referendum is held, Baghdad will not recognize its outcome".

The referendum is planned to be held in Kurdistan and disputed areas including the oil-rich province of Kirkuk.

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