Barzani: We are ready for dialogue, but after Kurdish referendum

Barzani: We are ready for dialogue, but after Kurdish referendum

Barzani: We are ready for dialogue, but after Kurdish referendum

The Turkish Parliament is set to hold an extraordinary session on Sept 23 to vote on a mandate that permits the government to deploy troops to its southern neighboring countries, Iraq and Syria, just two days before the scheduled referendum to be held by the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). Baghdad isn't alone in discouraging the Kurds from holding elections. The referendum is a unilateral decision of Erbil, condemned by the National Assembly, the Federal Government and the Supreme Court of Baghdad.

Kurdish leaders have also stressed that a "yes" vote will not trigger an automatic declaration of independence, but rather strengthen their hand in lengthy negotiations on secession with Baghdad.

Mr Barzani's assistant, Hemin Hawrami, also confirmed on Saturday that the referendum would not be postponed, tweeting that a Kurdish delegation was in Baghdad to deliver a message: "We r ready for talks after 25/9".

Iraqi Kurdistan authorities have called the vote for September 25, drawing worldwide criticism.

Iraqi Kurdish leaders are vowing to press ahead with an independence referendum on Monday despite intense pressure from the Iraqi government, which claims the plebiscite is illegal, and the global community that is almost unanimous in its opposition to the vote.

"They said that they would only support the dialogue for the pre-referendum [period]".

But on Friday, he had again insisted the vote would take place, despite a UN Security Council warning that it was "potentially destabilising".

A referendum of independence for the Kurdish region of northern Iraq is set for September 25. But surging Kurdish nationalist sentiment, stoked by a succession of referendum rallies, raises the political stakes for Kurdish leaders.

Ankara has repeatedly warned Arbil of the "heavy cost" of the poll, while Iraq, Iran and the United States have urged the KRG against the non-binding September 25 vote.

Describing how Iraqi officials did not respect partnership in the new Iraq established after the 2003 US-led invasion, Barzani declared, "We won't go back to a failed experience", reiterating: "We can no longer live with Baghdad".

One core issue to be addressed, which became a flashpoint in the run-up to the referendum, is the status of disputed areas within Kirkuk, Nineveh, Salahaddin, and Diyala provinces.

Some 6 million Kurds and other nationalities living in the Kurdish region in northeastern Iraq - including those living in territory contested by the Iraqi government - are eligible to vote. Gowhar's village has been on the frontlines of the war against ISIS, and Gowhar - and many others who have fought - hope that the Kurdish sacrifice was not in vain.

"The only way to stop the fighting is to not go through with the referendum", he continues. The planning and implementation of the referendum vote has been left to the local councils of the disputed regions.

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