Turkish PM says Iraqi Kurdish vote grave mistake

People celebrate to show their support for the upcoming September 25th independence referendum in Zakho Iraq

US Special Envoy: Kurdish Referendum Could Undermine Fight Against IS

Officials in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region have announced the northern territory would hold the independence referendum on September 25.

Western officials have once again pressed on Kurdish leaders to cancel the 25 September independence referendum by threatening not to grant global legitimacy to the elections.

Thursday, a senior USA official announced that Brussels, Washington, Paris, London and Baghdad had cooperatively developed an alternative plan to the contentious referendum.

Slated for September 25, the non-binding referendum will see residents of northern Iraq's Kurdish region vote on whether or not to declare formal independence from Baghdad.

McGurk said at a news conference in Irbil that Brussels, Washington, Paris, London and Baghdad had cooperatively developed an alternative plan to the contentious referendum.

"We refuse to accept the Iraqi parliament's decision, which was unlawful", Muna Qahwachi, a Turkman lawmaker, told Reuters.

"We therefore call on the Kurdistan Regional Government to call off the referendum and enter into serious and sustained dialogue with Baghdad, which the United States has repeatedly indicated it is prepared to facilitate".

Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani's decision not to postpone an independence referendum later this month is "very wrong", Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday.

Barzani's statements came after the U.S. Special Envoy for the Coalition against Daesh Brett McGurk urged northern Iraq's KRG to halt its upcoming independence referendum, suggesting that there is an alternative. "This is a very risky process", United States envoy to the multinational coalition battling Daesh, Brett McGurk, told reporters after a delegation that included the UN and British representatives met with Barzani.

The US and its Western allies have expressed concern that the vote could cause new conflicts in the region and distract from the war on Daesh, who continue to occupy parts of Iraq and Syria.

IS in Iraq is on the verge of defeat, with Iraqi forces, backed by the US -led coalition, recapturing most of the areas once controlled by the terror group.

The attack in Nasiriyah in Thi Qar province started with militants opening fire at the checkpoint and the restaurant on the main highway that links Baghdad with the southern provinces, al-Nassiri said. USA -backed Iraqi forces recently crushed IS fighters in Tal Afar in a swift 11-day battle, and they now are preparing to attack IS's last major stronghold of Hawija in Kirkuk province. Ankara refused, insisting they would play a role in retaking Mosul. Iraq's central government has rejected the polls as unconstitutional and illegal.

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