Iraq Parliament Rejects Kurdish Independence Referendum

Israel endorses independent Kurdish state

The Iraqi parliament voted on Tuesday to oppose an independence referendum planned by Iraqi Kurdish leaders for later this month prompting a walkout by Kurdish lawmakers.

A breakdown for the vote was not immediately available. The Kurdish parties on Tuesday expressed their regret for the Iraqi parliament's decision to reject the independence referendum of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region slated for September 25. Al-Abadi said the referendum does not have the support of the central government, so it is invalid. "We will not allow the partition of Iraq".

Kurdish lawmaker Majid Shingali said Kurds would reject the decision.

"I call upon the Kurdish leadership to come to Baghdad and conclude a dialogue", Abadi said.

Hoshyar Zebari, a Kurdish leading figure and former Iraq's Finance and Foreign Minister, said earlier in an interview with Xinhua that the referendum will be held on September 25, after all the official bodies in the region completed their preparations in all aspects of security and logistics.

"This decision has no value and we will not implement it", he said.

The Israeli Prime Minister voices support for the establishment of a Kurdish state as the Kurdistan Region heads toward holding independence referendum.

The referendum on whether to secede from Iraq was due to be held in the three governorates - Erbil, Dohuk and Sulaymaniyah - that constitute the nation's Kurdish region, and in areas of disputed territory now under Kurdish military control, including the oil-rich province of Kirkuk.

Western powers fear a plebiscite in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region - including the oil-rich city of Kirkuk - could ignite conflict with the central government in Baghdad and divert attention from the war against Islamic State militants.

It has drawn stronger opposition from powerful neighbours Iran and Turkey who fear that it will stoke separatist sentiment among their own large Kurish minorities.

Kurds have sought an independent state since at least the end of World War One, when colonial powers divided up the Middle East after the collapse of the multi-ethnic Ottoman Empire and left Kurdish-populated territory split between Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria.

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