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UN Security Council Warns Against Kurdish Referendum in Iraq

UN Security Council Warns Against Kurdish Referendum in IraqUN Security Council Warns Against Kurdish Referendum in Iraq

The UN Security Council on Thursday warned that a referendum on independence by Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government was potentially destabilizing, adding its weight to international opposition to the vote.

In a unanimous statement, the 15-member council said the referendum planned for Monday could hinder efforts to help refugees return home and weaken the military campaign against the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group, TRT reported.

Council members “expressed concern over the potentially destabilizing impact of the [KRG’s] plans to unilaterally hold a referendum next week,” said the statement.

“The planned referendum is scheduled to be held while counter-IS operations – in which Kurdish forces have played a critical role – are ongoing,” it added.

The council urged “dialogue and compromise” to address differences between the Iraqi government and the regional authorities.

Iraqi Kurds will vote on September 25 in the non-binding referendum on whether to declare independence in the semi-autonomous region that was established in 1992, but recognized by Iraq in 2005.

Under the Iraqi constitution, the KRG is defined as the authority that governs over the provinces of Erbil, Duhok and Sulaymaniyah.

The move heightened pressure on Iraqi Kurd leaders to call off the vote after Turkey, Iran and Iraq urged them to abandon the plan that is also opposed by the United States.

The US has said it “strongly opposes” it, and pointed to the “high” cost of the referendum for “all Iraqis including Kurds.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said Ankara was considering sanctions if next week’s referendum went ahead.

 

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