Masoud Barzani, president of northern Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), met with UN envoy Jan Kubis on Monday with whom he discussed an upcoming referendum on Kurdish regional independence.
The two men met in Erbil, the KRG’s administrative capital.
According to a subsequent statement released by Barzani's press office, the Kurdish leader told Kubis that the decision to hold the poll later this month had been taken by the “people of the region”.
In his meeting with Kubis, Barzani also ruled out the possibility that the controversial poll would be called off or postponed.
Kubis, for his part, reportedly conveyed to Barzani the UN's concerns regarding the planned referendum, according to the same statement.
Slated for Sept. 25, the non-binding referendum will see residents of northern Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region vote on whether or not to declare full independence from Baghdad.
The Iraqi government, however, rejects the planned poll, saying it will adversely affect the ongoing fight against the Daesh terrorist group, which still maintains a significant presence in northern Iraq.
Baghdad also believes that holding the poll would violate Iraq’s national charter.
Turkey, too, rejects the planned referendum, saying the region’s stability depends on Iraq’s unity 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.
Source: Anadolu Agency