US Urges Kurds to Call off Sept. 25 Independence Vote

US Urges Kurds to Call off  Sept. 25 Independence VoteUS Urges Kurds to Call off  Sept. 25 Independence Vote

The United States has sternly urged the semi-autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan to call off its independence referendum, saying the timing for the vote is not right.

Iraqi Kurdish legislators on Friday approved the September 25 vote that was set in motion by regional president Massud Barzani, a Washington ally who has publicly kept open the option of postponing it, Al Jazeera reported.

Washington has long supported Kurdish autonomy and has relied on the region’s forces in the war against the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group, but it fears that now is not the time for the people to seize their freedom.

US officials fear the vote, while not legally binding, will hurt Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s re-election chances; complicate ties with Turkey; and disrupt the war against IS.

“The United States has repeatedly emphasized to the leaders of the Kurdistan Regional Government that the referendum is distracting from efforts to defeat ISIS and stabilize the liberated areas,” President Donald Trump’s White House said in a statement, using another acronym of the group.

“Holding the referendum in disputed areas is particularly provocative and destabilizing,” it warned.

While Baghdad recognizes Kurdistan’s autonomy, the precise boundary between the region and the rest of Iraq is unclear.

The US also wants the Kurds to enter into a “serious and sustained dialogue with Baghdad” which Washington “has repeatedly indicated it is prepared to facilitate”, the statement said.

  Referendum Lacks Reason

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday that the Iraqi Kurdish region’s plans to hold an independence referendum on Sept. 25 show a lack of both reason and experience, Anadolu reported.

“I see this [referendum] as something that is beyond abdication of reason; this is critically political inexperience, there cannot be such an understanding of politics,” he said.

Erdogan stressed that Turkey would not allow steps which would threaten Iraq’s territorial integrity.

KRG leader Massoud “Barzani knows very well what we think about the issue. His remarks, in my opinion, are very wrong. He knows our stance on Iraq’s territorial integrity.”

Erdogan said his country would make his stance on the issue even clearer after a national security meeting on Sept. 22, just days before the planned referendum.



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