Kurdistan Regional Government freeze independence vote, call for ceasefire

October 24, 2017 9:30 pm
Displaced Iraqi Kurdish people fleeing violence in the northern Kirkuk province sit an unfinished housing project where they are taking shelter in Erbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern , on October 19, 2017. (AFP)
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has said that it will freeze the results of a recent vote for independence from Iraq.
Based on a statement released by the KRG on Tuesday, they also called for an immediate ceasefire and a cessation to all military operations in the northern region.
It also proposed open dialog with Baghdad based on the Iraqi constitution.
The announcement came shortly after the parliament in the autonomous Iraqi region of Kurdistan announced that legislative and presidential elections that were delayed due the ongoing political stand-off with Baghdad would be held in eight months.
The development may end weeks of simmering tensions between Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government over the September 25 referendum, held in open defiance of the central government in Baghdad.
Iraq, along with neighbors Iran and Turkey, opposed the vote, warning that the referendum would further complicate the security situation in the Arab country that has been grappling with foreign-backed militancy in its north and west for the past three years.
Following the vote, the central government in Baghdad shut down flights in and out of the region and ordered a halt to its independent crude oil sales.
The Kurdish region further slipped into political uncertainty after Iraqi forces captured the disputed city of Kirkuk last week. The city and its surroundings, rich in oil and populated by Kurds, Arabs and Christians, have been at the heart of a long-running row between Erbil and Baghdad.
Gorran, the main opposition party to Barzani, issued a statement on Sunday, calling for the resignation of the Kurdish leader, who has held the region’s presidency since 2005. The opposition party said Barzani was responsible for the turmoil that followed the referendum.
Last week, Iraq’s judiciary also issued arrest warrants for three senior Kurdish officials, who were allegedly behind the contentious plebiscite, which also faced strong opposition from regional countries, including Iran and Turkey. Iraq’s Supreme Court has already ruled the referendum unconstitutional.
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