18:42 GMT +320 January 2020
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    A statehood referendum would not impede the Iraqi Kurdish fight against terrorism, despite potential tensions with Baghdad, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) spokesman told Sputnik on Thursday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Massoud Barzani, the president of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region said Wednesday that it was time to hold a statehood referendum.

    The referendum "will increase the resilience of the people in the offensive and economic crisis. We´re fighting in the fight line, so obviously…the people want to be independent," Safeen Dizayee said.

    According to the official, the first stage of the referendum will be consultations with people of Kurdistan on how they wish to decide their future.

    "The referendum doesn´t mean the declaration of the Kurdish state," Dizayee added.

    In 2014, Barzani urged the parliament of the autonomous region to identify a date for a referendum on independence. Barzani called Baghdad's politics a failure that has allowed the Islamic State militant group to approach Kurdish borders.

    Kurds are a Middle Eastern ethnic group with the population of some 30-35 million living mainly in Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria. The group has been fighting against the Islamic State militant group, which is prohibited in many countries including Russia.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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    independence, border control, referendum, kurds, Iraq
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