Kurdish government holds meetings in Baghdad on eve of independence vote

Former US Diplomat: Efforts to Derail Kurdish Referendum Won't Work
UN Security Council Warns Iraqi Kurds Against Referendum
Author

24 September, 2017

In a statement, Turkey's National Security Council called on Massoud Barzani to stop the referendum, saying it retained the rights defined in bilateral and worldwide agreements if the vote were held.

The President of Iraq's Kurdish region said that the controversial referendum on support for independence will go forward Monday, despite increasingly urgent calls from the worldwide community to delay the vote.

Residents of the multi-ethnic city of Kirkuk north of Baghdad were stocking up with supplies on Saturday ahead of the planned controversial referendum on independence for Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region.

The country has the largest Kurdish population in the region and is already battling a Kurdish insurgency.

In New York, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday demanded that Iraqi Kurds call off the referendum, while hinting at consequences if they go ahead.

"The same people who are threatening us have not come to ask why we are holding a referendum", Barzani said, according to a report from Kurdish news portal Rudaw.

Turkey launched a military drill featuring tanks close to the Iraqi border last week, and on Saturday the Turkish armed forces said the "second phase of the military exercise continued with the participation of additional troops".

"He also expressed that France is not against the referendum as a principle".

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Barzani has vowed to go ahead with the independence referendum despite intense opposition by the Iraqi government, the country's neighbors, in particular Iran and Turkey, and the global community.

Asked if Turkey would consider a cross-border operation in response to referendum, Prime Minister Binali Yildrim said to Reuters: "Naturally, it is a question of timing as to when security, economic and security options are implemented".

Masoud Barzani, the president of the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), announced the vote on June 7.

The imperialist rulers' alternative proposal included pushing the referendum back two years "until a meeting in the United Nations discusses the Iraqi file, including the Kurdistan Region and the independence referendum".

Kurds, supporters of their right to their own state, and bitter opponents like the capitalist rulers in Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey expect a vote for independence would pass overwhelmingly.

The non-binding referendum will see Iraqis in KRG-controlled areas - and in a handful of territories disputed between Erbil and Baghdad - vote whether to secede from Iraq.

"I want to say once again that we, as Turkey, will support a solution within the Iraqi Constitution".


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