The governor of Iraq's oil-rich Kirkuk province condemned a vote by Iraq's parliament on Thursday to remove him from office as "unlawful" and vowed to stay in power.
The referendum is scheduled for September 25 and millions of Kurds are urged to vote for or against the independence of the Kurdistan Autonomous Region of Iraq.
Kirkuk Governor Najmaddin Kareem said he had no intention of following Baghdad's dismissal order, issued at the behest of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
Kurdish leaders will study a western delegation's plan to delay the autonomous region's planned referendum on independence, according to a statement from the Kurdish presidency.
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.
Since the KRG announced its plan to hold the referendum, most Western powers, including the United States and European Union, have voiced concerns that the poll could ignite a new round of conflict between Baghdad and Iraqi Kurdistan, threatening regional stability and distracting from the fight against terrorism.
Karim said he will keep his post, adding he has received phone calls from Kurdish officials such as President Barzani who offered their support.
He said Iran and Turkey believe that if the referendum is held, it would be a basis for more tensions and conflicts in Iraq.
"The people of Kurdistan, including Kirkuk, will not abide by the decision of the Iraqi Parliament", the statement added.
Israel supports the creation of a Kurdish state.
Turkey - which for over three decades has battled the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in its southeast - is strictly opposed to any move to a Kurdish state anywhere in the region.
"Israel supports the legitimate efforts of the Kurdish people to achieve their own country", Netanyahu said in a commentary sent to foreign correspondents from his office.
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