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Baghdad not to recognize outcome of Kurdish independence vote, Armenian analyst says

17 September, 2017, 00:59 | Author: Greg Wolfe
  • US Special Envoy: Kurdish Referendum Could Undermine Fight Against IS

Late last month, Kirkuk's provincial council - at a session boycotted by Turkmen and Arab members - voted to include the disputed province in a planned September 25 referendum on Kurdish regional independence.

Western officials have once again pressed on Kurdish leaders to cancel the 25 September independence referendum by threatening not to grant global legitimacy to the elections.

"The UK calls on the Kurdistan Regional Government to seize this opportunity and to enter into serious negotiations with Baghdad".

"The UK does not support the Kurdistan Regional Government's aspiration to hold a referendum on 25 September".

"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 United States and other Western envoys this week.

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.

A "yes" vote in the independence referendum would not spell immediate independence for the Kurdish region, since the referendum does not have legal force.

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The opposition Gorran, the second-largest party in parliament, and the smaller Kurdistan Islamic Group, boycotted the vote and called it invalid.

Iraq's Kurdish region has enjoyed a high degree of autonomy since the USA imposed a no-fly zone over northern Iraq after the 1990 Gulf War.

Qahwachi said she had voted in favour of the referendum because she said Turkmen were protected in Kurdistan, unlike in the rest of Iraq. Mr Barzani says the referendum's "legitimacy comes from the people of Kurdistan, not from the outside".

The Baghdad parliament's decision earlier this week to oppose the referendum drew condemnation from deputies in Erbil.

Even the United States, which initially endorsed the referendum, has warned against dire consequences of the KRG's unilateral declaration of independence.

Under this plan, a well-placed source told AFP, the global community will oversee negotiations on revenue sharing in Iraq's oil budget and payment for Kurdish militia fighters.

It is also concerned that the scheduled referendum comprises disputed areas such has Kirkuk, which is home to Turkmen, Arabs, Kurds and Christians. It is claimed by both the Kurds and the central government in Baghad.

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