AMERICAS >KRG to maintain plan for holding independence referendum

Kurdistan

The Kurdish capital of Erbil

U.S. and other Western nations fear that the vote could create a new conflict with Baghdad and create regional unrests.

"The declaration and the foundation of the independent state of Kurdistan is the objective of all the people of Kurdistan and [the] Gorran Movement. but the decision to hold the referendum on September 25, 2017 was made without legal, proper political and economic, security and social preparations, especially the issue of the Kurdistani areas (disputed areas)", the movement said, referring to a lack of agreement over where the boundary lines for an independent Kurdish state should be drawn.

The United States has asked Iraq's Kurds to postpone a referendum on the independence of their autonomous Kurdish region, planned for September 25, the Kurdish presidency said. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson asked Kurdistan Regional Government President Massoud Barzani to postpone the referendum.

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According to the statement, Barzani asked US State Secretary: "What kind of guarantees and alternatives are there for the future of Kurdistan?"

Barzani، for his part، told Tillerson that the planned referendum was aimed at realizing the Kurdish region's longstanding desire for regional coexistence.

Tillerson also praised the decision of Erbil to send a delegation to Baghdad to discuss the upcoming vote with the Iraqi leadership, according to the statement.

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The US and other Western nations are anxious the vote could lead to renewed conflict with the Iraqi government in Baghdad and distract the Kurds from fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group. Turkey, Iran and Syria all oppose an independent Kurdistan.

"Barzani, whose father led struggles against Baghdad in the 1960s and 1970s, told Reuters in July the Kurds would take responsibility for the expected "yes" outcome of the referendum, and pursue its implementation through dialogue with Baghdad and regional powers to avoid conflict".

"The relationship between Baghdad and Erbil is determined by the Iraqi constitution and the Kurds can not act unilaterally", government spokesperson Saad Al Hadithi said in June after the referendum was announced by Mr Barzani on Twitter. "We have to rectify the history of mistreatment of our people and those who are saying that independence is not good, our question to them is, 'if it's not good for us, why is it good for you?'", he said in an interview in the KRG capital, Erbil. They are effectively running the region, also claimed by Turkmen and Arabs.

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