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Kurdish government meets Baghdad officials on eve of independence vote

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Refere­ndum intend­ed to offer Kurds a legiti­mate mandat­e to achiev­e indepe­ndence from Iraq

Newly unveiled statue in Kirkuk pays tribute to the Peshmerga, Iraqi Kurdistan's main fighting forces in Kirkuk, Iraq. PHOTO: REUTERS

Newly unveiled statue in Kirkuk pays tribute to the Peshmerga, Iraqi Kurdistan’s primary combating forces in Kirkuk, Iraq. PHOTO: REUTERS

ERBIL: A delegation from the Kurdistan Regional Authorities held talks with the Iraqi authorities in Baghdad on Saturday, two days earlier than a deliberate referendum on secession from Iraq.

“The delegation will talk about the referendum however the referendum continues to be taking place,” Hoshiyar Zebari, a high adviser to Kurdish chief Massoud Barzani, instructed Reuters. “We stated we’d speak to Baghdad earlier than, throughout and after the referendum.”

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The KRG has stated the vote is meant to offer its autonomous territory a reputable mandate to realize independence from Iraq by dialogue with Baghdad and neighbouring powers Turkey and Iran.

Ankara and Tehran are apprehensive that the vote might revive the separatist aspirations of their very own Kurdish populations.

The Kurdish delegation met with representatives of the ruling coalition in Baghdad, and with the Iraqi president, Fuad Masum, himself a Kurd, whose function is essentially ceremonial. Government powers are concentrated within the arms of the prime minister, Haider al-Abadi.

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Hemin Hawrami, an assistant to Barzani, tweeted: “Our delegation in Baghdad to ship a message: We’re prepared for talks after 25/9.”

Turkey stated on Saturday it might take safety and different steps in response to the deliberate referendum, which it referred to as a “horrible mistake”.

The Turkish parliament convened for a debate and vote on extending a mandate that authorises Turkish troop deployments to Iraq and Syria, and Prime Minister Binali Yildirim alluded to potential navy strikes.

Turkey says Iraqi Kurds’ referendum plan ‘irresponsible’

The US has urged the KRG to cancel the vote, whereas the UN Safety Council warned in a press release of its “doubtlessly destabilizing” impression on Iraq. Washington and different Western powers say the vote distracts from the battle towards the Islamic State militant group. The KRG counters that its Peshmerga fighters have made an important contribution to that battle.

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