KRG's Barzani ignores calls to postpone independence referendum

Pauline Gross
September 16, 2017

Moves toward independence are strongly opposed by Baghdad.

Iraq's parliament on September 12 voted to reject the poll and authorized Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi to "take all steps to protect the unity of Iraq and open a serious dialogue" with the country's Kurdish leaders.

McGurk said the alternative plan was presented to Kurdish President Masoud Barzani by representatives of the USA, the United Nations and the U.K. during a meeting Thursday at the anti-IS coalition's command center in Duhok.

Salihi contended that the Turkmen population paid a heavy price in the war against Daesh as thousands of them have died in the conflict. "In such case, Kurds will be more harmed than us", he said.

By an overwhelming majority of deputies present, Iraq's Kurdish regional parliament on Friday passed a resolution to hold the September 25 referendum planned by the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). "It would be the biggest injustice", the prime minister noted.

In a phone conversation on Thursday, Chairman of the General Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri and his Turkish counterpart, General Hulusi Akar, said the referendum would have adverse impacts on the interests of the region's people, Tasnim News Agency reported.

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"We still haven't heard a proposal that can be an alternative to the Kurdistan referendum", Barzani told a rally in the Kurdish region, referring to a proposal put forward by the USA and other Western envoys this week.

Barzani's statements came after the U.S. Special Envoy for the Coalition against Daesh Brett McGurk urged northern Iraq's KRG to halt its upcoming independence referendum, suggesting that there is an alternative.

Meanwhile, Iranian-backed Iraqi Shi'ite paramilitary groups have threatened to dislodge the Kurdish forces from the Kirkuk region, which is due to take part in the referendum.

Kirkuk province is claimed by both the central government in Baghdad and Barzani's semi-autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq.

Though McGurk did not provide details of the plan to the media, he said it has been presented to the KRG leaders.

Qahwachi said she had voted in favour of the referendum because she said Turkmen were protected in Kurdistan, unlike in the rest of Iraq.

Other reports by GizPress

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