USA urges Iraqi Kurdish region to call off independence referendum

Karim to continue as Kirkuk Governor says Iraqi Parliament’s dismissal ‘illegal

"To date, we have not received an alternative that can replace the referendum, the alternative that we wanted was not offered", he said.

In a phone conversation on Thursday, Chairman of the General Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri and his Turkish counterpart, General Hulusi Akar, said the referendum would have adverse impacts on the interests of the region's people, Tasnim News Agency reported.

The Parliament of Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region approved a plan to hold a referendum on independence on September 25, ignoring Iraqi, Iranian and Turkish opposition as well as U.S and Western concern that the vote could cause new conflicts in the region.

McGurk said he was optimistic Kurdish leaders would accept an alternative plan that would focus on dialogue between the region and Baghdad and postpone the referendum.

The referendum is planned to be held in Kurdistan and disputed areas including the oil-rich province of Kirkuk.




The results will be binding on President Masoud Barzani and the Kurdish government, which agreed to hold the referendum after a June 7 meeting.

Washington opposes the referendum on the grounds that it would weaken Arab-Kurdish joint military operations, which have helped send the IS group into retreat in both Iraq and war-torn Syria.

In recent years, there have been tensions between Baghdad and Kurdistan over power-sharing, oil revenues and territorial disputes.

There are also questions over the leadership of Barzani, who was supposed to step down three years ago at the end of his two terms as president before receiving a controversial extension. Gorran wants elections, restoration of the constitution and for Barzani to step down.

Opposition parties Goran and Jamaa Islamiya earlier said they would boycott the session. While Baghdad recognizes Kurdistan's autonomy, the precise boundary between the region and the rest of Iraq is unclear.

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