Iraqi Kurdistan Parl't Approves Independence Referendum on September 25
Sep 16, 2017, 00:58
Earlier Friday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country plans to hold a high-level security meeting on September 22 to decide what response to take over the Kurdish referendum, accused leaders of Iraq's autonomous region of "serious political inaptitude" for going ahead with plans to hold the vote.
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.
McGurk said he was optimistic Kurdish leaders would accept an alternative plan that would focus on dialogue between the region and Baghdad and postpone the referendum.
Ankara expressed its support for the decision made in the Iraqi parliament Tuesday to oppose the independence vote, calling on the government in Baghdad to negotiate with the Irbil-based KRG.
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.
"We've been waiting more than 100 years for this", Omed Khoshnaw, a lawmaker from the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDR) of KRG President Massoud Barzani, told Reuters.
Qahwachi said she had voted in favour of the referendum because she said Turkmen were protected in Kurdistan, unlike in the rest of Iraq.
Iran and Syria also oppose the vote, fearing it could fan separatism among their own Kurdish populations.
Oil-rich Kirkuk is home to a mix of Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen and Christians.
With the exception of Israel, nearly all Western countries friendly to the Iraqi Kurds have publicly opposed the Kurdish referendum.
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IS in Iraq is on the verge of defeat, with Iraqi forces, backed by the USA -led coalition, recapturing most of the areas once controlled by the terror group. It is claimed by both the Kurds and the central government in Baghad. "But those steps have forced us to reconsider", Erdogan said.
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