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Turkey, Iran and Iraq Threaten 'Counter-Measures' against Kurdish Referendum


Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani again stressed on Friday that next week's referendum on independence for the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq will proceed as planned.

The Kurdish official said that the reports quoted Pavel Talabani, the son of former President Jalal Talabani, who was expressing his personal opinion.

Kurdistan President Masoud Barzani told the French ambassador to Iraq that it is too late to discuss postponing the independence referendum, stressing that the parliament made a decision to hold the vote on Monday.

She said the United States is urging the Kurds to "accept the alternative" - talks between the northern Kurdish region and Iraq's central government that the U.S.

It also said the vote could weaken the military campaign against Islamic State (IS), "in which Kurdish forces have played a critical role".

Iran and Turkey both have sizeable Kurdish populations of their own and fear the vote will stoke separatist aspirations at home.

"We are open to holding serious dialogue [with Baghdad] after the poll, but now it's too late to postpone the referendum", he added.


"We conveyed our opinions [on referendum] clearly and without hesitation to our friends in the coalition".

On Monday, the Turkish army launched a highly visible military drill near the Habur border crossing, which military sources said was due to last until September 26, a day after the planned referendum.

A statement issued after the meeting said Turkey reserved its rights originating from worldwide conventions.

KRG leader Masoud Barzani said a "Yes" vote would not result in an automatic declaration of independence but would simply lead to further negotiations with Baghdad.

The most hotly contested area is Kirkuk, where Baghdad lays claim to the oil-rich province.

The mandate approved by Turkey's parliament on Saturday was first passed in 2014 with the aim of tackling threats from within its southern neighbours Iraq and Syria.

"We reaffirm to the UN Security Council that our fight against terror will continue", he said, dismissing concerns that the vote would undermine the drive - which requires cooperation with Arabs - to crush Islamic State militants.

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