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Kurdistan referendum: Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani resigns as Iraqi protesters swarm parliament

31 October, 2017, 00:40 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
  • Khamenei asks Iraqi PM not to dissolve Iranian-backed Shia militia

She also hailed the decision of President of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region Masoud Barzani not to seek another term.

The United States also welcomes the recent decision from Iraqi Prime Minister Gaider al-Abadi to begin a new dialogue with the KRG. The autonomous Kurdish Regional Government has faced strong criticism after it held an independence referendum last month. Barzani said in a speech he was not going to extend his term beyond November 1.

As MPs discussed the request for his powers to be dissolved dozens of his Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) supporters stormed the building, attacking politicians from opposition parties and journalists until police arrived at the scene.

Abadi said he was following developments in the Kurdish area closely. In a statement on Monday, the State Department praised Barzani as "a historic figure and courageous leader of his people, most recently in our common fight to destroy ISIS".

The United States called Barzani's decision "an act of statesmanship during a hard period". "We were a state within a state", said Kamal Chomani, a nonresident fellow at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy, in a phone interview Sunday.

Iran has its own sizable Kurdish minority and has opposed independence for Iraqi Kurds.




Kurdish president Masoud Barzani gives a televised speech in Erbil, announcing his intention to step down, on October 29, 2017.

The region's airspace was closed to worldwide commercial flights, Turkey threatened the use of military force and both Tehran and Ankara threatened to close border crossings vital to the land-locked region.

Kurdish leaders had offered to suspend the referendum results and to start talks with the central government but Abadi rejected the offer.

Abadi said he would accept only an annulment of the referendum and respect for the country's constitution.

Iraqi federal forces took over several Kurdish-held areas in Kirkuk, Nineveh and Diyala provinces from Kurdish Peshmerga troops earlier this month in response to an independence referendum the semi-autonomous region held in September, in which 92% voted for independence from Iraq.

"Barzani is saying he doesn't want the presidency to exist anymore, and to create a new constitutional arrangement in a few days - that's actually a lot of work", Ali said in a phone interview.

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