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The Kurdish Regional Government to look into offer to delay the independence referendum in northern Iraq

THE KURDISH REGIONAL GOVERNMENT TO LOOK INTO OFFER TO DELAY THE INDEPENDENCE REFERENDUM IN NORTHERN IRAQ

KRG head Masoud Barzani has decided to mull over postponing the independence referendum in northern Iraq which was scheduled for September 25.

President of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) Masoud Barzani will consider an offer to delay the independence referendum scheduled for Sept. 25, according to a presidential office statement on Thursday.

Barzani had a meeting about the upcoming poll with U.S. President Donald Trump's anti-Daesh coalition envoy Brett McGurk, UN special representative for Iraq, Jan Kubis and British ambassador to Iraq, Frank Baker, the statement said, adding the trio presented the Iraqi Kurdish leader with an "alternative" to postpone the referendum.

Barzani, for his part, welcomed the "constructive dialogue," and said the alternative offer would be discussed with the Kurdish political party representatives, adding a decision would be announced in the near future.

No more details have been disclosed about the nature of the offer.

Slated for Sept. 25, the non-binding referendum will see residents of northern Iraq's Kurdish region vote on whether or not to declare formal independence from Baghdad.

Baghdad rejects the planned poll, saying it will adversely affect the fight against the Daesh terrorist group, which 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 constitution.

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, for its part, has 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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