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Iraq's Barzani calls for referendum on regional autonomy

Massoud Barzani, president of northern Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region, renewed calls on Wednesday for a referendum on the region's independence from the central government in Baghdad.

In a congratulatory message marking the first day of the Eid al-Fitr (the three-day holiday that follows the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan), Barzani called on the region's political parties and groups to discuss means of "reaching an agreement on [the region's] relations with the [Iraqi] federal government".

He added: "I hope to meet with representatives of political parties and groups in the region following Eid al-Fitr to discuss the possibility of holding a referendum on [regional] self-determination and to discuss relations between Erbil [the Kurdish region's administrative capital] and Baghdad in line with the national interest."

Last month, Barzani declared that there was "no loftier goal than the right to self-determination and independence," going on to warn against allowing the issue "to fall victim to internal disputes and conflicts".

IraqMiddle EastNews
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