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Leader of Iraq's Kurdish region calls for independence referendum

English.news.cn   2014-07-04 05:36:14

BAGHDAD, July 3 (Xinhua) -- The leader of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region on Thursday asked the regional parliament to prepare for a referendum on the independence of the region as well as the disputed areas adjacent to the country's north, an official Kurdish website said.

Masoud Barzani, leader of Iraq's Kurdistan, asked the regional parliament "to organize a referendum on the right of self- determination for the region and to set a date for it," according to the website of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan led by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.

Barzani asked lawmakers to form a regional electoral commission to organize the referendum for the disputed areas to decide whether to be ruled by Baghdad or stay with the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan, the website said.

On Wednesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki rejected Barzani's earlier comments about referendum to establish a Kurdish state and his claims to control the disputed areas, which are now in the hands of the Kurdish security forces.

"You (Kurds) have chosen, by the text of the constitution, to be part of Iraq which is a democratic and federal, and you have become a federal. There is nothing in the constitution named self- determination," Maliki told the Kurds in his weekly televised speech.

"No one has the right to exploit the events that occurred to impose a fait accompli, like what happened in some of the actions of the Kurdistan region. This is a rejected act," Maliki said, referring to Barzani's earlier comments that after the Iraqi security forces withdrew from the disputed areas, the Kurdish soldiers have no choice but to step in to protect the people from the terrorists, stressing that the Kurds will not withdraw from these areas.

The disputed areas are mainly ethnically mixed with the Kurds, Arabs, Turkmans and other minorities. The Kurds demanded to expand their autonomous region in northern Iraq to include the oil-rich province of Kirkuk and other areas in the Iraqi provinces of Nineveh, Salahudin and Diyala.

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U.S. opposed to Kurdish breakaway from Iraq

WASHINGTON, July 3 (Xinhua) -- The White House on Thursday voiced opposition to a call for referendum on independence by the leader of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region.

The call from Massud Barzani, president of the Kurdish region in northern Iraq, came as Sunni militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) are continuing their offensive after seizing a large part of Iraq's northern and western territories and declaring the establishment of an Islamic caliphate in areas under their control in both Iraq and SyriaFull story

Iraq's stability in U.S. interest: military chief

WASHINGTON, July 3 (Xinhua) -- The United States has sent troops back to Iraq because it is in America's interest for the country to remain stable and to counter Sunni militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, head of U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff said Thursday.

Army Gen. Martin Dempsey told a Pentagon news conference that Iraq's leaders must form an inclusive government that respects the rights of all groups.   Full story

Editor: Liu
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