07:47 GMT +323 September 2019
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    Banners calling for voting in a referendum on Iraqi Kurdistan independence from Baghdad in Erbil

    Iraq's Kurdish Leadership Rejects Baghdad Demand to Cancel Independence Vote

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    The demand by the Iraqi authorities to cancel the results of the Iraqi Kurdistan independence referendum has been rejected by Erbil.

    Leaders of Iraqi Kurdistan have rejected the demand of Baghdad to cancel the outcome of the independence referendum, Hemin Hawrami, the aide of the leader of the Kurdistan region Masoud Barzani said.

    "There will not be any unilateral negotiation with Baghdad by either PUK or KDP. If there be any negotiation with Baghdad it will be a joint delegation representing all Kurdistan parties. KDP/PUK reject any demands to nullify the referendum results. Refuse preconditions," he said on Twitter.

    He said that Iraqi Kurdistan rejects what the region's authorities consider to be "military threats" from Baghdad against Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, adding that Kurdish-controlled territory would be defended in case of a potential attack.

    However, according to him, Iraqi Kurdistan renewed its offer to resolve the crisis that erupted as a result of the independence vote "peacefully."

    Erbil's decision was made at a meeting to discuss the situation in the Kurdish town of Dokan attended by Barzani and Iraqi President Fuad Masum among others.

    The tensions between the federal government and the autonomous region were high following the September 25 referendum. More than 90 percent of voters taking part in the referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan backed the region's independence from Baghdad. Iraqi authorities declared the referendum illegal, while Turkey and Iran criticized the vote amid fears that it might strengthen separatist feelings in their own ethnic Kurdish minorities.

    Following the referendum, the Iraqi parliament voted in favor of dismissal of all the Kurdish public sector employees, involved in the vote. Moreover, the Iraqi court ruled to arrest those behind an independent commission for holding a referendum.

    Most recently, the Iraqi Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC) accused Baghdad of preparing a large-scale military operation to restore control over the oil rich Kirkuk province, which has been de-facto under the control of the Kurdish Peshmerga militia for three years. On the following day, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi refuted the claims.

    Related:

    Kurdistan Sends Peshmerga Troops to Kirkuk Amid 'Threats' by Iraqi Army
    Iraqi Kurdistan Accuses Baghdad of Preparing Military Operation in Kirkuk
    Iraqi Court to Arrest Organizers of Referendum on Kurdistan's Independence
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    independence referendum, Masoud Barzani, Iraq, Iraqi Kurdistan
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