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Iraqi National Coalition opposes Kurdistan independence referendum

President of Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government (IKRG) Masoud Barzani (R) in Erbil, Iraq on 4 April 2017 [Yunus Keleş/Anadolu Agency]
President of Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government (IKRG) Masoud Barzani (R) in Erbil, Iraq on 4 April 2017 [Yunus Keleş/Anadolu Agency]

The Iraqi National Coalition announced its opposition to the referendum on Kurdistan’s independence on Sunday, TheNewKhaliji.org has reported. The Shia parliamentary bloc made the announcement during its regular meeting. The leadership reiterated its stand on Iraqi unity and total opposition to the referendum covering the governorates with Kurdish majorities in the north of the country.

The referendum is scheduled to take place on 25 September and a vote in favour of independence is widely expected. According to US Presidential Envoy to the anti-ISIS Coalition, Brett McGurk, Washington does not support it because it would “destabilise” the region.

“Right now, ISIS is not finished,” he said. “We have to be very clear about that. They are in Tal Afar, just south of the Kurdistan region. They are in Hawija, just south of Kirkuk.” That is why the US does not think the referendum should happen in September. “We think that under the Iraqi constitution there is an important process of dialogue that has to take place. And having a referendum on such a fast timeline, particularly in disputed areas, would be, we think, significantly destabilising.” All eyes must remain fixed on the enemy –Daesh– which is not defeated, the envoy added. “Anything that would distract from completing this mission is something that we will not support.”

Read: ‘I will declare independent Kurdistan if Al-Maliki returns to power,’ warns Barzani

A senior aide of Kurdish President Masoud Barzani said recently that those who say that it is not good timing for such a referendum do not say when it would be good timing. “There is no ideal timing,” insisted Hemin Hawrami. “No one in the regional and international community has stated that they are against the natural right of self-determination for Kurdistan.”

Iraqi Kurdistan has been an autonomous region since 1991. It has 4.6 million residents and includes three governorates in the north of the country.

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