Kurdish leaders studying western delegation plan to delay referendum

Kurdish leaders studying western delegation plan to delay referendum

Masoud Barzani will consider an offer to delay the independence referendum scheduled for September 25, according to a presidential office statement on Thursday.

The planned vote has faced strong opposition from the federal government in Baghdad as well as neighbouring Iran and Turkey, which fear it will stoke separatist aspirations among their own sizeable Kurdish minorities.

Gorran Movement and the Kurdistan Islamic Group (KIG) who are calling for the postponement of the referendum on independence, announced on Friday that they would boycott the extraordinary session as well.

"But we will hold our referendum without an alternative and whatever happens, happens", he emphasized. Iraq's central government has rejected the polls as unconstitutional and illegal.

An worldwide delegation, including the United States, Britain and UN envoys, met with Barzani and presented the alternative path for the controversial independence referendum.

The governor of Kirkuk was sacked by the federal parliament earlier this week over his support for a referendum.

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McGurk said at a news conference in Irbil that Brussels, Washington, Paris, London and Baghdad had cooperatively developed an alternative plan to the contentious referendum.

Though McGurk did not provide details of the plan to the media, he said it has been presented to the KRG leaders.

The U.S. and other Western nations fear that the September 25 vote in Iraqi Kurdistan could ignite a new conflict with Baghdad and possibly neighboring countries, diverting attention away from the ongoing war against Daesh terrorists in Iraq and Syria.

"There's an alternative on the table". They say a Kurdish bid for independence will disrupt that cooperation and may result in a war between the region and the central government, particularly on the fate of disputed territories. "It's decision time", he said. USA -backed Iraqi forces recently crushed IS fighters in Tal Afar in a swift 11-day battle, and they now are preparing to attack IS's last major stronghold of Hawija in Kirkuk province.

Oil-rich Kirkuk is home to a mix of Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen and Christians.

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