Kurdish parliament votes to move ahead with referendum

Kurdish parliament votes to move ahead with referendum

Kurdish parliament votes to move ahead with referendum

The parliament also voted Thursday to fire Najm al-Din Karim, the governor of oil-rich Kirkuk, a province that is a part of disputed territories claimed by both Baghdad and Irbil as their own.

Turkey has warned Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region that "there will most certainly be a price to pay" for its insistence on holding an independence referendum later this month.

Speaking to Panorama.am, political scientist Alexander Markarov said Iraqi Kurdistan's leader strongly supports the independence vote when, according to world powers, it can pose serious threat to the regional security and the issue of self-determination in a number of regions.

Kirkuk - a province contested by Baghdad and autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan and home to diverse communities, including Arabs and Turkmen - decided at the end of August to take part in the controversial referendum.

"Heading into a referendum for September 25, there is no prospect for global legitimacy", Brett McGurk, a USA special envoy, told reporters after a delegation also including the United Nations and Britain met Kurdish President Massoud Barzani.

"We refuse to accept the Iraqi parliament's decision, which was unlawful", Muna Qahwachi, a Turkman lawmaker, told Reuters. It is clear that the Iraqi authorities can maximally grant a broader autonomy to the Iraqi Kurds seeking independence.

The U.S. and other Western nations fear that the September 25 vote in Iraqi Kurdistan could ignite a new conflict with Baghdad and possibly neighboring countries, diverting attention away from the ongoing war against Daesh terrorists in Iraq and Syria.

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.

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. They regard the city, just outside their Kurdistan region in northern Iraq, as their historical capital. "If our will is strong, we will achieve victory", Barzani said. "That is the only body that can remove him".

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