Iraqi Lawmakers Reject Pending Kurdish Independence Vote


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The council also called for immediate return of displaced people to their homes at the liberated areas, except for those wanted for the judiciary, and called for the deployment of the security forces of the central government across the province, including the disputed areas claimed by both the semi-autonomous Kurdish region and Baghdad, Daiyni said.

The council of Iraq's eastern province of Diyala on Tuesday rejected conducting Kurdish independence referendum slated for September 25 in some of its territories, which are part of the disputed areas between Baghdad and the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region. "Dialogue with Baghdad will resume after the referendum", Barzani, president of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), said in a statement on his ruling party's official website after the vote.

A senior Kurdish official dismissed the vote as non-binding though an Iraqi lawmaker said it would be published in the official gazette after approval from the Iraqi presidency.

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In addition, the neighboring countries of Turkey, Iran and Syria see that such a step would threaten their territorial integrity, as larger populations of Kurds live in those countries.

The Iraqi government considers the independence vote unconstitutional and Hashd al-Shaabi has said they oppose holding the referendum in areas they control.

With regard to the negative impacts of the independence vote on Iraq's security, Shamkhani said at a time when Iraq is getting close to the final phase of its fight against Takfiri terrorists, certain "injudicious measures can increase the risk of the emergence of new conflicts and regenerate insecurity."

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Kirkuk, an ethnically mixed city, voted last month to participate in the referendum, a move that stoked tensions with its Arab and Turkmen residents, as well as with Baghdad.

Kurdish peshmerga forces took control of the Kirkuk area and other areas claimed by Baghdad and the Kurds, after IS militants overran around a third of Iraq in 2014 and Baghdad's local forces disintegrated.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has said he is against the referendum and has been engaged in talks with various factions, including the Kurds, to keep the country united.

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Around 5.5 million people are eligible to vote inside the Kurdish region - which is divided into Erbil, Sulaimaniya and Duhok - as well as Kirkuk province, areas in the northern Iraqi province of Nineveh and Iraqi Kurds living overseas.

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