Kurdish parliament votes to move ahead with referendum

Envoy to the Global anti-ISIS Coalition Brett Mc Gurk and Kirkuk Governor Nakmaldin Karim pose for

Kurdish referendum will not be granted international legitimacy

On Tuesday, Iraq's parliament in Baghdad rejected the independence referendum as unconstitutional and called it a threat to peace in a vote boycotted by Kurdish lawmakers.

"The US has repeatedly emphasized to the leaders of the Kurdistan Regional Government that the referendum is distracting from efforts to defeat ISIS and stabilize the liberated areas", the White House statement said.

KRG President Masoud Barzani said Thursday he could consider an offer to delay the vote. Late last month, Kirkuk's provincial council voted to take part in the referendum.

"We, from the KDP, believe that except for independence, there is no other way to give the people of Kurdistan a guarantee that genocide will never be repeated", he added.

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The parliament met in the KRG capital, Erbil, in northern Iraq.

Turkey is furious about the referendum, with loyalists to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan even whipping up anti-Semitic fake news stories claiming that the Kurds have a deal with Israel to flood Kurdistan with Jews. It has several military bases in the Kurdistan region and also holds considerable leverage over the KRG due to its large economic footprint and the fact that it is the only major outlet for Kurdish oil exports.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday that his country will hold a high-level security meeting on September 22 to decide its response to the planned Kurdish referendum on independence.

Kirkuk, which is home to diverse communities including Arabs and Turkmen who oppose the vote, is under the authority of the Baghdad federal government.

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Under this plan, a well-placed source told AFP, the global community will oversee negotiations on revenue sharing in Iraq's oil budget and payment for Kurdish militia fighters.

The referendum is planned to be held in Kurdistan and disputed areas including the oil-rich province of Kirkuk.

Thursday, a senior US official announced that Brussels, Washington, Paris, London and Baghdad had cooperatively developed an alternative plan to the contentious referendum.

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