Iraqi parliament "has no right" to remove Kirkuk's governor - senior Kurdish official

A large number of independence referendum supporters rally in Erbil in front of Shanadar Park

A large number of independence referendum supporters rally in Erbil in front of Shanadar Park

He therefore said that the Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi did not have the right to send his name to the parliament to table a vote of confidence.

An Iraqi lawmaker says parliament has dismissed the Kurdish governor of Iraq's ethnically-mixed Kirkuk province upon a request from the prime minister.

Baghdad has repeatedly criticized the move and the Iraqi Parliament has already voted against the referendum.

Since the KRG announced its plan to hold the referendum, most Western powers, including the United States and European Union, have voiced concerns that the poll could ignite a new round of conflict between Baghdad and Iraqi Kurdistan, threatening regional stability and distracting from the fight against terrorism.

Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin urged the Iraqi Kurdish government to "return from this wrong decision as soon as possible".

Netanyahu said in a statement that Israel still considers the Turkey-based Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) a terrorist group but "supports the legitimate efforts of the Kurdish people to achieve their own state".

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

The Kurdish area of northern Iraq has enjoyed broad autonomy since the first Gulf War in 1991.

Ownership of Kirkuk has always been disputed between Iraq and the Kurdish authorities.

Turkey warned Wednesday that plans by the leadership in Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region to hold a referendum on independence could lead to civil war, in Ankara's strongest warning yet against next month's poll.

Last spring, Kirkuk's governorate voted to raise the Kurdish flag over state buildings, despite Baghdad's insistence that only Iraq's national flag should fly in the multi-ethnic city.

"They asked us to keep calm", Karim said of his phone call with McGurk when asked about the meeting between a visiting delegation from the United States, United Kingdom, and United Nations with Kurdish President Masoud Barzani.

Suhail gave no details about what Kareem was accused of and Kareem himself said he had not been informed.

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