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Turkey warns Iraq: Kurdish referendum security threat

Turkey warns Iraq: Kurdish referendum security threat”

The parliament of Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region approved a plan on Friday to hold a referendum on independence on September 25, ignoring opposition from Baghdad and the wider region as well as Western concerns that the vote could spark fresh conflict.

The Parliament of the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan convened for the first time after two years of suspension, and is scheduled to discuss referendum on independence of the Kurdish region.

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

The White House urged the KRG to "enter into serious and sustained dialogue with Baghdad", over the issue.

But Barzani has vowed to press forward despite unspecified "alternatives" offered by the United States this week to entice its Iraqi Kurdish allies to delay the referendum.

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

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.

Oil-rich Kirkuk is home to a mix of Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen and Christians.

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

"The referendum's legitimacy comes from the people of Kurdistan, not from the outside", he added.

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

Iraq's central government rejected the referendum as unconstitutional on Tuesday. But relations with Baghdad have grown strained in recent years over oil and the disputed areas.

Jowhar said the session was chaired by the Deputy Speaker, as Speaker Yousif Mohammed Sadiq did not attend the session since his Gorran Movement is boycotting the session along with the Kurdistan Islamic Group, Xinhua news agency reported.



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