Arab Parliament calls for postponing Iraqi Kurdish referendum

Source:Xinhua Published: 2017/9/22 1:19:09

Arab Parliament Speaker Mishaal al-Salami on Thursday urged President of the Iraqi Kurdistan region Masoud Barzani to postpone an independence referendum scheduled for next week.

Salami issued the call in a cable sent to Barzani, the Egyptian state-run Middle East News Agency (MENA) reported, quoting a statement issued by the Arab Parliament.

The plebiscite should be replaced by dialogue to reach a compromise guaranteeing the rights of all parties and maintaining the unity and stability of Iraq, Salami said.

Arab Parliament is keen on protecting the rights of the Kurdish people, Salami added.

He also expressed his appreciation of Barzani's contribution to defeating the terror group Islamic State (IS) and his help to the displaced Iraqis who fled to the Kurdistan region as IS militants occupied their cities.

On June 7, Barzani announced his intention to hold a referendum on Sept. 25 on seeking independence of the semi-autonomous Kurdish region from Iraq.

The international community, especially Iraq's neighboring countries such as Iran, Turkey and Syria, have voiced strong opposition to the move, fearing it would undermine Iraq's territorial integrity and destabilize the region by inspiring the huge Kurdish population in their own country to follow suit.

The Iraqi government has warned that it could use force if the referendum leads to violence.

After Barzani refused their repeated calls to call off the referendum, Iraq, Iran and Turkey agreed on Thursday to take countermeasures if the Kurds go ahead with the referendum next week.

Posted in: MID-EAST

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