Lawmakers of Kurdish region approve referendum

Lawmakers of Kurdish region approve referendum

The White House issued a statement following the Kurdish vote, calling on the Kurds to call off the vote and "enter into serious and sustained dialogue with Baghdad".

The Trump administration has asked the Kurdistan Regional Government to call off the independence referendum scheduled for September 25, charging it would be "distracting" in the fight against ISIS for these key anti-ISIS fighters to seek a free state.

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

The oil-rich province of Kirkuk is among the contested areas that the vote is planned to take in.

This week, top U.S. envoy Brett McGurk was again in Arbil and attempted to persuade the Kurdish leader to call off the highly-charged popular vote in exchange for a new diplomatic initiative.

The opposition Gorran, the second-largest party in parliament, and the smaller Kurdistan Islamic Group, boycotted the vote and called it invalid. Iraq now eyes a full liberation of its western and northern territories from Daesh.

Iraqi Kurds fly Kurdish flags as they urge people to vote in a September 25 independence referendum in Arbil capital of the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq

Sixty-five members of parliament voted in favour of holding the referendum for the Kurdistan region.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says his country will hold a high-level security meeting on September 22 to decide what response to take over a planned Kurdish referendum on independence.

Germany also renewed its opposition to the unilateral independence referendum.

The referendum has been opposed by Baghdad because it would threaten the integrity of Iraq and would distract the ongoing fight against Islamic State militant group by Iraqi forces.

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

However, Kurdish officials say they will use it to pressure the Iraqi government in Baghdad to come to the negotiating table and formalize their independence bid. It is claimed by both the Kurds and the central government in Baghdad.

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