Baghdad not to recognize outcome of Kurdish independence vote, Armenian analyst says

Q&A: Kirkuk Gov. Najmaldin Karim

Iraq's Kurds plan to hold the vote on September 25 in three governorates that make up their autonomous region as well as disputed areas like Kirkuk that are controlled by Kurdish forces but claimed by Baghdad.

The White House issued a statement hours after the vote, asking the Kurdistan Regional Government to call off the referendum and enter into serious and sustained dialogue with Baghdad.

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.

"Holding the referendum in disputed areas is particularly provocative and destabilizing".

"We've been waiting more than 100 years for this", Omed Khoshnaw, a lawmaker from the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDR) of KRG President Massoud Barzani said.




The oil-rich province of Kirkuk is among the contested areas that the vote is planned to take in.

His remarks followed a meeting in Erbil on Thursday with the U.S. envoy to the anti-ISIL campaign, Brett McGurk, who attempted to persuade the Kurdish leader to call off the referendum in exchange for a new diplomatic initiative to reach a deal between the Kurds and Baghdad.

"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.

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.

Analysts say the referendum is unlikely to lead to an immediate declaration of independence and is designed, for now, to bolster the Kurds' bargaining position with Baghdad over disputed territories, shared oil revenues and greater autonomy. Iraq's central government rejected the referendum as unconstitutional on Tuesday. Irbil and Baghdad have always been in disagreement over oil revenues and contracts the Kurdistan region has signed with oil companies.

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