US urges Iraqi Kurds to call of independence referendum

The United States on Friday strongly urged northern Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) to call off a controversial referendum on independence from Baghdad.
The announcement comes hours after the KRG parliament voted to hold the poll next week despite opposition from the central government and Iraq’s neighbours.
Instead of pursuing the vote, the KRG should begin “serious and sustained dialogue” with Iraq’s central government, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.
KRG President Masoud Barzani said on Thursday he could consider an offer to delay the vote.
The non-binding referendum is planned to see residents in provinces controlled by the KRG vote on independence from Baghdad on Sept. 25.
“The referendum is distracting from efforts to defeat ISIS and stabilise the liberated areas,” she said, adding that “holding the referendum in disputed areas is particularly provocative and destabilising.”

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