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Kurdish independence vote to include disputed areas

June 15, 2017 at 10:10 pm

Kurdish parties are continuing negotiations and meetings to discuss the details of the referendum on Kurdish independence from Iraq, which is scheduled for 25 September. Meanwhile, officials have demanded that the referendum only include disputed areas to find out if residents in these areas want independence.

Mohamed Osman, a member of parliament for the Kurdistan Alliance, said: “Meetings are still ongoing between Kurdish parties to reach total agreement on the referendum and its details.” He also told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed:

The Kurdish provinces do not need a referendum because the views of their inhabitants are clear. They support the establishment of a Kurdish state.

Osman argued that “the referendum should be held exclusively in disputed areas to see whether people there are for establishing a Kurdish state, for remaining with Baghdad or for establishing their own province.” He emphasised the need for “total consensus between Kurdish parties concerning the referendum”.

Several obstacles to holding the referendum remain, mostly internal issues within the Kurdish province and between its parties and groups. This may reduce the chances of the referendum being held.

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The Governor of Kirkuk and head of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, Najmiddin Karim, called for the referendum to “include the [disputed] province of Kirkuk”.

He said in a press statement, “We support holding the referendum in Kurdistan and for it to include the province of Kirkuk”, asserting that “Kirkuk has been deprived of constitutional, legal and administrative rights.”

The so-called “disputed areas” are a number of districts and areas mentioned in article 140 of the Iraqi constitution, including the province of Kirkuk. These areas are located near the territory controlled by the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq.

The United Nations said it would not “participate in any shape or form” in the Kurdish independence referendum process.