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US Opposes Iraqi Kurd Independence Vote as Distraction From Anti-Daesh War

© AFP 2023 / SAFIN HAMEDIraqi Kurdish demonstrators wave a large Kurdish flag (File)
Iraqi Kurdish demonstrators wave a large Kurdish flag (File) - Sputnik International
The United States considers the referendum on independence that Iraqi Kurds want to hold later in the year a distraction from the war against Daesh terrorists, according to a statement from US Department of State spokesperson Heather Nauert.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The United States is urging the government of Iraqi Kurdistan to drop plans for a September 24 referendum on whether the region should secede from Iraq, Nauert stated.

"We have expressed our concerns to authorities in the Kurdistan Region that holding a referendum — even this non-binding resolution — at this time will distract from more urgent priorities: the defeat of ISIS [Daesh, outlawed in Russia]," Nauert stated on Thursday.

Nauert also noted that the referendum could distract the region from addressing more urgent issues such as dealing with refugees, managing the economy and resolving differences with the central government in Baghdad.

Kurdish Peshmerga forces celebrate Newroz Day, a festival marking spring and the new year, in Kirkuk March 20, 2017. - Sputnik International
Iraqi Kurds Announce Independence Vote in September
On June 7, Kurdistan Regional President Masoud Barzani set September 25 as the date for an independence referendum.

The referendum will be held throughout Kurdistan and also in disputed territory such as the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, which was rescued from Daesh takeover by Kurdish Peshmerga forces after Iraqi forces fled the city in 2014.

The Iraqi constitution of 2005 defines the Kurdistan region as a federal entity of Iraq.

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