Iraqi  Ex-President  to Visit

Iraqi Ex-President to Visit

The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan announced on Saturday that its leader, Jalal Talabani, a former president, is due to visit Tehran in the coming days. The visit is taking place upon an official invitation and he will stay in Iran for a few days, according to a statement by the party carried by Iraq's Kurdish news agency Rudaw. Talabani's visit comes amid strained relations between Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government and regional countries over an early June announcement by KRG President Masoud Barzani that a referendum on separation from Iraq will be held on September 25. The secession plan has met strong opposition from regional states, including Iraq, Iran and Turkey. Barzani told Reuters on Thursday there was no turning back on the bid to achieve an independent Kurdistan, but he would pursue it through dialogue with Baghdad and regional powers to avoid conflict. Talabani had largely disappeared from Iraq's political scene since suffering a stroke in December 2012. The visit by the leader of PUK, which enjoys good relations with Iran, has not yet been confirmed by Iranian officials.


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