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EU discourages Iraqi Kurds from holding independence vote

An Iraqi man sews a flag of Kurdistan bearing the portrait of Iraqi Kurdish leader Massud Barzani, in Irbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, on June 8, 2017.(AFP / SAFIN HAMED)
BRUSSELS: The EU is discouraging Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region from holding an independence referendum in September.
EU foreign ministers said in a statement “that unilateral steps must be avoided, and that all open questions must be resolved through consensual positions” based on Iraq’s constitution.
The ministers did not explicitly mention the planned Sept. 25 poll, but they did urge all parties in Iraq’s northern Kurdish region to “seek common ground” and consider holding regional elections.
The UN warned last week that it would not be “engaged in any way or form” in the referendum process.
The vote has been criticized by the central government in Baghdad.
Iraq’s Kurdish region already enjoys a high degree of autonomy and has its own parliament and armed forces.

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