Defying regional concerns, Israeli PM Netanyahu endorses KRG referendum

15 September, 2017, 00:48 | Author: Malcolm Fuller
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Haider al-Abadi, Iraq's prime minister, requested the removal of Karim as leader of the oil-rich province, said Hussein al-Maliki, Member of Parliament.

The decision to remove the governor, Najmaddin Kareem, came after Kirkuk - an oil-rich province claimed by both the central government in Baghdad and the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq - chose to take part in the KRG referendum.

Iraq's parliament has voted to remove the governor of Kurdish-controlled Kirkuk from office, according to legislators present at the vote.

He went on to point out that the region's Turkmen stood in strong opposition to the KRG's planned referendum on Kurdish regional independence, slated to be held later this month.

The United States, as well as the worldwide partners, has suggested an "alternative path" to the Kurdistan Region's upcoming independence referendum, a U.S. envoy said on Thursday.

Iraqi Kurdistan has effectively been a semi-autonomous state since the fall of Saddam Hussein more than a decade ago, but support for full independence has always been opposed by Turkey, Iran and Syria, who fear it could fan separatist uprisings among their own ethnic Kurds.

Kareem has long riled the federal government with his aspirations for Kurdish independence.

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"He is an elected governor of the council of Kirkuk", said Hoshyar Zebari, a close adviser to Kurdish President Massoud Barzani.

Hussein al-Maliki says that all Kurdish lawmakers boycotted Thursday's session, while Arab lawmakers voted in favor.

Barzani has vowed to press ahead with the referendum and that the vote will be held on time, despite US requests for it to be postponed. He refused to give details. He explained that the law for the Iraqi provincial election passed in 2008 stipulated that Kirkuk, unlike the rest of the Iraqi provinces, would not come under the authority of the office of the Iraqi Prime Minister.

"I don't even know what the accusations are against me", Kareem told Reuters.

"We remain in our place, we are doing our work, and we are doing preparation for the referendum." the defiant governor said.

A delegation from the U.S., United Nations and UK, met with the autonomous region's president, Massoud Barzani, on Thursday with a proposal to postpone the vote scheduled to take place on September 25.

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