US envoy demands delay of Kurdish independence poll

US president's anti-Daesh coalition envoy tells Kurdish region's opposition leader to delay Sept. 25 referendum

US envoy demands delay of Kurdish independence poll
Gorran Movement's Diplomatic Relations Representative Hoshyar Omar spoke to press members in Sulaymaniyah, Iraq

The US anti-Daesh envoy demanded, Wednesday, a delay of the Kurdish independence poll scheduled for Sept. 25 by the Kurdish Autonomous Region (KRG) parliament, according to the KRG main opposition movement, Gorran's Diplomatic Relations Representative Hoshyar Omar.

Envoy Brett H. McGurk met with the KRG main opposition movement Gorran's leader Omar Sayyid Ali in northern Iraq's Sulaymaniyah on Wednesday. Speaking to press members about the details of the meeting, Hoshyar Omar said McGurk delivered three messages to them.

"Firstly, the U.S. is 100 percent against the referendum and anything said other than that is not correct. [...] Second, he told the referendum must be delayed by the decision of the (KRG) parliament," Omar said.

McGurk, thirdly, said they are ready to support the start of serious meetings between Arbil and Baghdad in a new framework in the UN with the support of France and the United Kingdom.

The envoy will meet with the KRG President Masood Barzani on Thursday.

This month’s scheduled referendum would 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.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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