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Kurdish parliament votes to move ahead with referendum
16 September 2017, 01:00 | Rufus Hill
Kurdish men march in support of the independence referendum carrying
Sixty-five of the sixty-eight parliamentarians present at the sitting in Erbil voted in favor of the referendum, Kurdish news agency Rudawreported.
Earlier Friday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country plans to hold a high-level security meeting on September 22 to decide what response to take over the Kurdish referendum, accused leaders of Iraq's autonomous region of "serious political inaptitude" for going ahead with plans to hold the vote.
"It is a path focused on sustained process of negotiation, dialogue, and making sure we have a very serious effort through negotiation to resolve numerous outstanding issues confronting the region and the central government in Baghdad", McGurk added.
U.S. officials, however, remain insistent: "There is no chance that this referendum, which will be held on September 25, will be given worldwide legitimacy ..."
"We still haven't heard a proposal that can be an alternative to the Kurdistan referendum", Barzani told a rally in the Kurdish region, referring to a proposal put forward by the USA and other Western envoys this week. "It would be the biggest injustice", the prime minister noted.
Iraqi lawmakers authorized Abadi this week to "take all measures" to preserve national unity before the independence referendum. Iraqi lawmakers say it will consolidate Kurdish control over several disputed areas, including oil-rich Kirkuk.
Iraq's neighbors, including Iran and Turkey, have also strongly objected to the decision.
The referendum is scheduled for September 25, when more than 5 million Kurds in northern Iraq will determine if they want to secede from Iraq.
Kareem is a vocal supporter of the referendum and campaigned for the vote also to be held in Kirkuk. "This is a very risky process", U.S. envoy to the multinational coalition battling Daesh, Brett McGurk, told reporters after a delegation that included the United Nations and British representatives met with Barzani.
Kurds have long claimed Kirkuk and its huge oil reserves.
With the exception of Israel, nearly all Western countries friendly to the Iraqi Kurds have publicly opposed the Kurdish referendum.
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