BAGHDAD, Sept. 12 (Xinhua) -- The Iraqi parliament voted Tuesday to reject the independence referendum of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region slated for Sept. 25, a parliament source said.
"The majority of lawmakers during the parliament session voted in favor of a draft rejecting the referendum on the independence of Kurdistan region in northern Iraq," the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity
The Kurdish lawmakers walked out of the session in protest, the source said.
"The draft put obligation on the Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to take all measures that preserve the unity of Iraq and start a serious dialogue to address outstanding issues between Baghdad and the Kurdish region," the source said.
Hoshyar Zebari, a Kurdish leading figure and former Iraq's Finance and Foreign Minister, said earlier in an interview with Xinhua that the referendum will be held on Sept. 25, after all the official bodies in the region completed their preparations in all aspects of security and logistics.
On June 7, the Kurdish President Masoud Barzani announced his intention to hold a referendum on the independence of the Kurdish region from Iraq on Sept. 25.
The independence of Kurdistan is expected to be opposed by some countries because it would threaten the integrity of Iraq and because it comes as the Iraqi forces are in fight against terrorism, including the Islamic State (IS) militant group.
In addition, the neighboring countries of Turkey, Iran and Syria see that such a step would threaten their territorial integrity, as larger populations of Kurds live in those countries.