U.S. announces opposition to Iraqi Kurdish independence referendum

17 September, 2017, 00:47 | Author: Ora Austin
  • Supporters of the ultra-nationalist Turkish Homeland Party protest outside the Israeli embassy in Ankara against what they claim are attempts to establish a

Iraqi parliamentarians on Tuesday voted to reject the nonbinding referendum planned to be held on September 25, authorizing the Iraqi prime minister to take all measures necessary to preserve Iraq's unity.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says his country will hold a high-level security meeting on September 22 to decide what response to take over a planned Kurdish referendum on independence.

The United States has proposed unspecified "alternatives" to the vote, to which Barzani has pledged to give a rapid response.

The planned referendum has angered Turkey and Iran, which fear it could inflame separatist desires among their sizable Kurdish minorities.

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 President Masoud Barazani
Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani

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.

All Kurdish members boycotted Thursday's session, while 187 mainly Arab and Turkmen legislators voted in favor, the two lawmakers said.

He also said that Baghdad will make all efforts possible to prevent the referendum and the results of the vote won't be recognized, adding that they will continue cooperation with Turkey on the issue. "This referendum is not legitimate and we do not recognize it", said main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Spokesperson Bulent Tezcan on Wednesday. Irbil and Baghdad have always been in disagreement over oil revenues and contracts the Kurdistan region has signed with oil companies.

Baghdad recognises Kurdish autonomy in some areas of Iraq but the precise boundary of the Kurds' self-ruled region and the rest of the country is disputed.

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