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Signs of Confrontation as Baghdad Rejects Kurdish Referendum | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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An Iraqi Kurdish man decorates a car with the Kurdish flags ahead of the upcoming independence referendum in Irbil. (AFP)

Baghdad, Irbil – Signs of a confrontation between Baghdad and Irbil are starting to emerge ahead of the September 25 independence referendum vote in the Iraqi Kurdistan region after the Iraqi parliament rejected the vote on Tuesday and forced the government to take measures against the Kurdish move.

“All relevant authorities should take every measure to cancel it,” the parliament said in its vote.

It also voted to ask “the Iraqi and the Regional governments to begin serious negotiations to solve outstanding issues based on the constitution and laws in place.”

Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi described the Kurdistan region’s planned referendum on independence as “unconstitutional” and he called upon the Kurdish leadership to come to Baghdad to hold dialogue.

“Beware, beware from those who wish to drag us into a new strike in which all of us would become losers,” he said.

As a response to the Iraqi parliament’s vote, Irbil said it was “not binding.”

Hoshyar Zebari, a Kurdish leading figure and former Iraqi Finance and Foreign Minister said that the Kurdistan region’s parliament would definitely respond to the decision when it will meet on Thursday.

And in another challenge to Baghdad, President Masoud Barzani visited on Tuesday the disputed area of Kirkuk to offer more details about the referendum and to assert that the Kurdish people would face until the last person, any force or side that would try to remove the city from the Kurdistan region.

“Nobody will be able to take Kirkuk by force and Kurds will fight to the last person and breath to defend its identity,” he said.

The president also rejected threats issued by the Popular Mobilization Forces and other Iraqi parties to launch wars against the Kurdistan region, describing such warnings as “childish.”