Barzani: Kurdish independence referendum on schedule

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The head of the Iraqi Kurdistan region Massoud Barzani pledged to press ahead with a referendum on the independence of the region on September 25, despite a nay-vote by the Iraqi parliament.

Barzani said that Erbil considered the decision of the Iraqi parliament as non-binding.

On Tuesday Kurdish deputies withdrew from the Iraqi parliament after it rejected the referendum vote.

Iraqi parliament speaker, Salim Juburi, said that the decision reflects the keenness of the House of Representatives on the unity of Iraq and the people of Iraq.

He stressed that the parliament is “obliging the Prime Minister to take all measures that preserve the unity of Iraq and start a serious dialogue to address outstanding issues between Baghdad and the region.”

On June 7 Kurdish parties announced that the independence referendum will be conducted on September 25. The decision, however, was rejected by the Iraqi government and a number of countries, notably the United States of America, Turkey and Britain.

Iraqi Prime Minister, Haidar al-Abadi, called the referendum unconstitutional and warned that holding the planned vote without a dialogue will push the country in to ‘a dark tunnel’.

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