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    Iraqi Kurdish President Masoud Barzani

    Iraqi Kurds to Study Independence Vote Alternative Proposed by Western States

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    According to a statement issued by the Kurdish Presidential Office, the Iraqi Kurdistan will examine an alternative to the independence referendum proposed by the UN, the US and the UK.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The leadership of Iraqi Kurdistan will examine an alternative to holding the referendum on region's independence proposed by the representatives of the United Nations, the United States, and the United Kingdom and will render its decision in the near future, Iraqi Kurdistan's President Masoud Barzani said Thursday.

    “The visiting delegation presented an alternative in place of the holding the referendum on September 25. President Barzani received the alternative and welcomed constructive dialogue. But regarding the referendum and the presented alternative, he said that ‘it is not just my decision, and we will discuss this issue with the leadership of Kurdistan and will announce our stance in the near future,” the Kurdish Presidential Office's statement was quoted as saying by Rudaw news agency.

    According to the Kurdish Dwarozh news portal, Barzani has received the proposal to postpone the referendum.

    "Representatives of the great powers have asked to postpone the referendum during the meeting, noting that the time for voting is now inappropriate," the news outlet quoted Barzani as saying at a public rally in support of the referendum.

    In response, Barzani said that the referendum could be postponed if Iraqi Kurdistan receives an alternative proposal that would satisfy the Kurds. 

    At the same time, the Iraqi Kurdistan Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani held talks with Brett McGurk, the US special presidential envoy for the global coalition to defeat Daesh, and discussed the issue of the region's independence referendum as well, the region's Foreign Minister Falah Mustafa said Thursday

    Mustafa wrote on Twitter that the parties had "discussed latest developments and referendum," adding that the meeting was also attended by US Ambassador to Iraq Douglas Silliman.

    In June, the President of Iraqi Kurdistan, set September 25 as the date for the referendum on the region's independence from Iraq. The decision prompted harsh criticism from a number of states, which claimed that the Iraqi Kurdistan's independence referendum posed a threat to the stability in the region and stressed the importance of Iraq's territorial integrity. 

    Iraqi Kurdistan is an autonomous region in the north of Iraq. The Kurds, making up about 20 percent of the Iraqi population, have been seeking self-governance for decades. In 2005, Iraq’s Constitution recognized Kurdistan as an autonomous region run by the Kurdistan Regional Government.

    Related:

    Iraqi Kurdistan to 'Pay Price' for Independence Referendum - Turkey
    Iraqi Kurdistan Leader Vows to Respond to Attempts to Disrupt Independence Vote
    Iraqi Kurdistan's Referendum on Independence 'Illegal' - Arab League
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    referendum, kurds, UN, Iraq, United States, United Kingdom
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