Lawmakers of Kurdish region approve referendum

Lawmakers of Kurdish region approve referendum

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.

Parliament reconvened in Erbil, the seat of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq, where an overwhelming majority of the Kurdish lawmakers taking part backed the plan.

"Since the adoption of the new Iraqi constitution in 2005, successive governments in Baghdad have violated the constitution, and it is clear to the people of Kurdistan that Baghdad will never implement key provisions of the constitution".

"Holding the referendum in disputed areas is particularly provocative and destabilising", the White House added, referring to areas that are controlled by Kurdish forces but claimed by Baghdad, including the oil-rich province of Kirkuk.

Earlier, the two major Kurdish parties of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) announced that the Parliament session, originally scheduled on Thursday, would be delayed to late Friday to convince Goran Movement and the Islamic group to attend the first parliament session in two years.

Top Iranian and Turkish generals raised alarm about the consequences of the Iraqi Kurdistan region's planned independence referendum.

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Najib also didn't mention the Justice Department probe into the 1MDB investment fund in Malaysia. Trump has been seeking partners in Asia to help counter Pyongyang amid new provocations.

An Iraqi interior ministry statement described the attack as "terrorist aggression" and did not link it to the tension caused by the Kurdish plan to hold the vote, on September 25.

Kirkuk is home to sizeable Arab and Turkmen populations and lies outside the official boundaries of the Kurdistan region.

Kurds across the Kurdistan Region and overseas gathered in a show of solidarity for the historic independence vote.

Baghdad has repeatedly opposed the Kurdish referendum, calling it "unconstitutional". But relations with Baghdad have grown strained in recent years over oil and the disputed areas.

Ankara, which has warned the referendum would come at a "cost", has close economic and political relations with the KRG and Barzani. It is also created to strengthen Barzani's position as a Kurdish nationalist leader.

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