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12.09.2017 20:28 News >> Arab League Head Makes Appeal To Defer Kurd Region Poll

Arab League Head Makes Appeal To Defer Kurd Region Poll

On Sept. 25, residents of Iraq’s Kurdish region will vote on whether or not to declare independence from Baghdad.

Arab League chief Ahmed Abul-Gheit on Tuesday urged northern Iraq's Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) to call off a planned referendum on regional independence with a view to preserving the unity of Iraq.

Abul-Gheit issued the appeal at the 148th session of the Arab League Council, which was held at the league's Cairo headquarters on Tuesday and attended by Arab foreign ministers.

"We have a genuine desire to keep the Kurds as a component of Arab society," Abul-Gheit said, urging the KRG to resolve its longstanding differences with Baghdad through dialogue.

"Despite the respect both sides have for each other, there is still a trust deficit between Iraq's central government and the Kurdish region," he added.

He went on to assert that a united, federal and multi-ethnic Iraq served the interests of the country's Arabs and Kurds -- and those of the wider Arab world.

On Sunday, Abul-Gheit met with KRG President Masoud Barzani in Erbil (the KRG's administrative capital), where he urged the Kurdish leader to postpone the Sept. 25 poll.

Following the meeting, however, Barzani's office issued a statement in which the KRG president ruled out the notion of deferring the poll to a later date.

The non-binding referendum will see residents of northern Iraq's Kurdish region vote on whether or not to declare formal independence from Baghdad.

The Iraqi government, however, rejects the planned poll, saying it will adversely affect the ongoing fight against Daesh, which still maintains a significant presence in northern Iraq.

Baghdad also believes that holding the poll would violate the terms of Iraq's national charter.

Turkey, too, rejects the planned referendum, saying the region's stability depends on the unity of Iraq and the maintenance of its territorial integrity.

Washington has likewise voiced concern that the poll could serve as a "distraction" from other pressing regional issues, especially the fight against terrorism and the stabilization of post-Daesh Iraq. -



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