Published: Wed, September 13, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Iraqi Kurds to Hold Referendum Despite Parliament's Rejection

Iraqi Kurds to Hold Referendum Despite Parliament's Rejection

Iraqi MPs were concerned the referendum would consolidate Kurdish control over several areas claimed by both the central government in Baghdad and the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq.

Referring to Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), Netanyahu said "while Israel rejects terror in any form, it supports the legitimate efforts of the Kurdish people to attain a state of their own".

"The leaders of the main Kurdish parties regretted the Iraqi parliament's decision against the referendum in Kurdistan and the authorization of Abadi (Iraqi Prime Minister) to take all measures to preserve Iraq's unity, including the use of military force", Mulla Bukhtiyar, head of political office of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), said at a news conference after a meeting of the three main Kurdish parties in the region.

Mohammed al-Karbouli, a Sunni Muslim lawmaker, said: "Kurdish lawmakers walked out of (Tuesday's) session but the decision to reject the referendum was passed by a majority".

Western powers fear a plebiscite in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region - including the oil city of Kirkuk - could ignite conflict with the central government in Baghdad and divert attention from the war against Islamic State militants.

Iran, Turkey and the Arab League, among others, are opposed to the kurdish referendum since they fear that a Yes result will provoke imbalances in the region and a renascence of terrorism.

"The logic of the use of arms in solving problems is very risky in the democratic Iraq", Bukhtiyar said, adding the Kurdish parties "called for calm conditions".

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said that the referendum planned for September 25 would violate Iraq's constitution.

The non-binding referendum will see residents of northern Iraq's Kurdish region controlled by KRG to vote on whether or not to declare formal independence from Baghdad.

On Sunday, Abul-Gheit met with KRG President Masoud Barzani in Erbil (the KRG's administrative capital), where he urged the Kurdish leader to postpone the September 25 poll.

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