Iraqi parliament rejects Iraqi Kurdish referendum

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a ceremony at the Casa Rosada Presidential Palace in Buenos Aires Argentina Septemb

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a ceremony at the Casa Rosada Presidential Palace in Buenos Aires Argentina Septemb

Iraq's Kurds plan to hold the referendum on September 25 in three governorates that make up their self-ruled region as well as disputed areas that are controlled by Kurdish forces but claimed by Baghdad, including the oil-rich province of Kirkuk.

Kurdish lawmakers in the Iraqi parliament walked out of the session on September 12 before the vote to reject the nonbinding referendum in Iraq's semiautonomous Kurdish region took place.

Western powers fear a plebiscite in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region - including the oil-rich city of Kirkuk - could ignite conflict with the central government in Baghdad and divert attention from the war against Islamic State militants.

Kurdish MPs reportedly walked out of the session before the vote and issued statements afterwards rejecting the decision.

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Speaking to the BBC Kurdish president Massoud Barzani, said he wanted to reach an agreement with the central government if the Kurdish people opted to secede.

"We have a genuine desire to keep the Kurds as a component of Arab society", Abul-Gheit said, urging the KRG to resolve its longstanding differences with Baghdad through dialogue.

After the vote, Kurdish leader Masud Barzani vowed to press ahead with the referendum, scheduled for September 25.

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

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"The ISIL-breeders' plot to destabilize the region through terrorism had a bitter end for them", said Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani.

Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi and other top officials have said repeatedly that the referendum would violate Iraq's constitution.

He went on to assert that a united, federal and multi-ethnic Iraq served the interests of the country's Arabs and Kurds - and those of the wider Arab world.

Kurdish leaders have later said a "yes" vote would pave the way for the start of "serious negotiations" with the Baghdad government.

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A Kurdish delegation met officials in Baghdad for a first round of talks in August concerning the referendum.

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