Iraq’s Kurdish MPs OK vote on independence
Erbil: The parliament of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region approved a plan on Friday to hold a referendum on independence on September 25, ignoring opposition from Baghdad and the wider region as well as Western concerns that the vote could spark fresh conflict.
Parliament reconvened in Erbil, the seat of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq, where an overwhelming majority of the Kurdish lawmakers taking part backed the plan.
After the decision, the White House publicly called for the first time on the KRG to cancel the referendum, warning that the vote was “distracting from efforts to defeat ISIS and stabilise the liberated areas.”
Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi said that the referendum plan was like “playing with fire”, adding that if the Iraqi population is “threatened by the use of force outside the law, then we will intervene militarily”.