Kurdistan parliament approves independence referendum for September 25

  • Kurdistan parliament approves independence referendum for September 25

Kurdistan parliament approves independence referendum for September 25

Kurdish leaders will study a western delegation's plan to delay the autonomous region's planned referendum on independence, according to a statement from the Kurdish presidency.

The referendum, slated for September 25, has become a potential flashpoint in the region, with Western powers concerned it could ignite conflict with Baghdad and divert attention from the war against Islamic State militants.

An worldwide delegation, including the United States, Britain and UN envoys, met with Barzani and presented the alternative path for the controversial independence referendum.

"This is a very risky process".

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. He refused to give details.

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.

Downplaying his removal, Karim told Reuters the vote will take place.

"Do not listen to anyone, we are going to go to a referendum", he asserted.

The prime minister said he is expecting to see new developments regarding the issue after the U.N.'s possible involvement.

Two of Turkey's three opposition parties have also declared that they opposed an independence referendum in northern Iraq.

The neighboring countries of Turkey, Iran and Syria also feel that the move would threaten their territorial integrity, as large numbers of Kurdish population live in those countries.

Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan has advised his Iraqi Kurdish counterpart Massoud Barzani to back off from plans to host a referendum on Iraqi Kurdish independence.

Shortly after the session, the Kirkuk governor rejected the parliament decision in a statement, describing it as "invalid" and insisting that he'll stay in office.

"There is no other way to guarantee that genocide will never be repeated", Khoshnaw told the assembly earlier, referring to the persecution of the Kurds and their expulsion from areas such as oil-rich Kirkuk under late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. They regard the city, just outside their Kurdistan region in northern Iraq, as their historical capital.

Kirkuk is home to sizeable Arab and Turkmen populations and is outside the KRG official boundaries.

Kareem has long riled the federal government. "If our will is strong, we will achieve victory", Barzani said.