00:47 GMT +321 October 2017
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    A flag of the autonomous Kurdistan region flies as Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters take position to monitor the area from their front line post in Bashiqa, a town 13 kilometres north-east of Mosul (File)

    Kurdistan Wants Independence Vote to Be First Step in Talks With Iraq

    © AFP 2017/ AHMAD AL-RUBAYE
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    Iraqi Kurdistan expresses hope that the independence referendum, scheduled for late September, will mark the beginning of a comprehensive dialogue with Baghdad, head of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Foreign Relations Department, Minister Falah Mustafa Bakir told Sputnik Sunday.

    CAIRO (Sputnik) — Kurdistan became an autonomous region in Iraq after former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was overthrown and a new constitution was adopted in 2005. Since then, Kurdistan’s authorities have repeatedly raised the issue of the region’s independence and announced on June 7 that the referendum will be held on September 25. The decision was slammed by multiple Western states, including the United States, which regards the independence vote as a distraction from the war against the Daesh terror group.

    “We want the referendum to become the first step to the launch of a serious and comprehensive dialogue… aimed at the independence of Erbil from Baghdad,” Mustafa said.

    The minister noted that Kurdistan offered a referendum as an option of the peaceful solution to the internal problems of Iraq.

    "This is why we want Baghdad to respect the will of the people of the region," Mustafa stressed.

    The relations between Iraqi Kurdistan and shia government in Baghdad have worsened in the past years over multiple reasons, including views on local oil fields and the profits therefrom. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi, who came to power in 2014, took the path of normalizing relations with the autonomous region and admitted its right for self-determination.

    Tags:
    independence referendum, Kurdistan, Iraq
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