Barzani: Without better alternative to independence, no turning back from referendum

Iraq Takes Similar Approach to Separatist Challenge as Spain

Kurdish President Massoud Barzani condemned the vote by Iraq's parliament to remove the governor of Kirkuk from office on Thursday, according to local media reports.

A parliamentary majority in Baghdad voted in opposition to the September 25 referendum planned by the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) prompting Kurdish lawmakers to walk out of the session, which was attended by 204 of parliament's 328 members.

Kirkuk's provincial council had announced on 29 August its decision - at a session boycotted by Turkmen and Arab members - to include the disputed province in an upcoming referendum on Kurdish regional independence in northern Iraq.

Iraq's parliament's on Tuesday voted against plans by Kurdish leaders to hold an independence referendum just two weeks before it was to be held, echoing regional criticism of the poll.

McGurk did not provide details of the "alternative plan" but he said he presented it to KRG leaders.

"We have told them, before and today, if there is a better alternative, our nation will accept it", Barzani said while addressing thousands of supporters at a rally in Zakho's football stadium.

Tracking rounds of showers from Irma
Plenty of cloud cover, however, there is a small chance for a peak of the sunshine late in the afternoon. The low will continue to weaken on Friday , as high pressure begins to build in from the west.

"If the only aim is to postpone the referendum, the postponement will never happen", President Barzani concluded.

"But we will hold our referendum without an alternative and whatever happens, happens", he emphasized.

Iraqi neighbors - Turkey, Iran and Syria - oppose the referendum, fearing that it could fuel separatist moods among their own Kurdish minorities.

Both the Catalans and Iraq's Kurds have tried to negotiate for more autonomy from their capitals but been rebuffed time and again. The PKK is designated by the U.S.as a terrorist organization.

The Kurdish forces, known as peshmerga, are considered one of the most consistent and capable allies of the West in the fight against IS.

The Iraqi Kurdish government's "insistence... despite all friendly advice will definitely have a cost", the ministry said, advising it to turn back from an "erroneous approach".

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