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Kurdish referendum will not be granted global legitimacy

Kurdish referendum will not be granted global legitimacy

The results will be binding on President Masoud Barzani and the Kurdish government, which agreed to hold the referendum after a June 7 meeting.

The Western allies offered an alternative plan to try to avert a conflict between the oil-rich province and the central government in Baghdad.

"The United States does not support the Kudistan Regional Government's intention to hold a referendum later this month", the White House said in a statement.

The opposition Gorran movement boycotted Friday's parliamentary session, the first since a dispute between them and Barzani's KDP caused the suspension of the assembly in October 2015.

"The leaders of the US, Britain and the United Nations would have had to commit to the date by which Kurdistan and Iraq would have negotiated Kurdish sovereignty - or commit to supporting a Kurdish unilateral declaration of independence".

Iraqi parliamentarians voted Tuesday to reject the nonbinding referendum planned to be held on September 25, authorizing the Iraqi prime minister to take all measures necessary to preserve Iraq's unity. Mr Barzani says the referendum's "legitimacy comes from the people of Kurdistan, not from the outside".

The referendum has been opposed by Baghdad because it would threaten the integrity of Iraq and would distract the ongoing fight against Islamic State militant group by Iraqi forces. But relations with Baghdad have grown strained in recent years over oil and the disputed areas. It is also created to strengthen Barzani's position as a Kurdish nationalist leader. Supporters of the referendum argue Kurds deserve their own state after fighting IS and facing years of oppression at the hands of governments in Baghdad, including gassing and ethnic cleansing under former dictator Saddam Hussein.

Baghdad recognises Kurdish autonomy in some areas of Iraq but the precise boundary of the Kurds' self-ruled region and the rest of the country is disputed.


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