Iraqi MPs call for crisis meeting on independence referendum in Kurd region


Some of Iraqi parliament members called on officials on Wendesday to organize an emergency session to debate northern Iraq's independence referendum on September 25.

Members of Iraq's parliamentary tribal committee on Wednesday called on Iraqi officials to hold an emergency meeting to discuss a controversial referendum on Kurdish regional independence slated for Sept. 25.

Committee head Abboud al-Issawi issued the appeal at a joint press conference held with several other committee members at the parliament building in capital Baghdad.

"Our brothers in the [Kurdish] region are planning to hold a referendum on secession from Iraq," he said. "We are therefore voicing our concern as to what the region's leaders plan to do [after the poll]."

Al-Issawi added: "The imposition of a fait accompli [i.e., the region's secession from Iraq] will be both a mistake and a crime."

Urging Iraqi officials and political leaders to hold an emergency meeting on the upcoming poll, al-Issawi went on to call for "serious dialogue" between regional leaders with a view to peacefully resolving their differences and averting "fratricidal conflicts over disputed territories".

This month's scheduled referendum will see residents of northern Iraq's Kurdish region vote on whether or not to declare independence from the Iraqi state.

Baghdad, however, rejects the planned poll, saying it will adversely affect the ongoing fight against Daesh, which -- despite a string of recent defeats -- still maintains a significant presence in northern Iraq.

The Iraqi government also believes that holding the poll would violate the terms of the country's national charter.

Turkey, too, rejects the planned referendum, saying the region's stability depends on the unity of Iraq and the maintenance of its territorial integrity.

Washington has likewise voiced concern that the poll could serve as a "distraction" from other pressing regional issues, especially the fight against terrorism and the stabilization of post-Daesh Iraq.

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