Iraqi president launches initiative to resolve Kurdish referendum crisis

Rachel Hardy
September 17, 2017

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.

Washington reiterated its opposition on Friday, with the White House saying in a statement that it was concerned that holding the referendum in disputed areas is "provocative and destabilizing" and calling on Kurdistan's regional government to call it off.

Kurdish lawmakers convened parliament in Irbil for the first time in two years to pass the measure, with 65 out of 68 parliamentarians in the 111-seat body present voting in favor.

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

Earlier Friday, Kurdistan's President, Masoud Barzani, ruled out postponing the vote.

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. On Thursday, Iraq's parliament voted to remove Karim from his post, a decision he summarily dismissed.

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Kurds across the Kurdistan Region and overseas gathered in a show of solidarity for the historic independence vote.

"To date, we have not received an alternative that can replace the referendum, the alternative that we wanted was not offered", he said. "Nobody brought a better alternative", Barzani told people in the Nineveh Plains attending an event in support of the referendum.

"The government opposes a unilateral referendum on the independence of the Kurdish region, which is not agreed with the central government in Baghdad", he added.

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

It was a dispute between Gorran and the KDP that caused the assembly to suspend its sessions in 2015.

Kirkuk is the capital of the oil-rich province of the same name which is disputed by the federal government in Baghdad and the autonomous region of Kurdistan.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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