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Top UN, Iraqi officials discuss Kurdistan referendum in Baghdad, New York

By Rudaw 23/9/2017
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Iraqi and the United Nations officials have met in New York and Baghdad, following the beginning of e-voting for the Kurdistan Region's independence referendum.

On Friday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi met with UN Special Representative to the Secretary-General for Iraq Jan Kubis in Baghdad, while Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari met with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

A statement from Abadi's office said Kubis explained the "international consensus was clear" when the UN Security Council expressed its opposition to Kurdistan's referendum referring to its Friday statement calling it "potentially destabilizing impact."

The PM statement said Kubis re-iterated the UN stance that the "unilateral referendum" will destabilize the region and the UN supports the "sovereignty of Iraq and its territorial, unity and integrity"

Kubis has spent the past week at the UN General Assembly meetings in New York, where it was anticipated Abadi would join hundreds of other leaders.

However, Abadi was tending to domestic issues like commencing the offensive to oust Hawija from its last stronghold in the north and operations in the Euphrates River Valley.

Kubis congratulated Abadi for Iraqi security forces' victories in Anbar's Ana, according to the PM's statement.

In Jaafari and Guterres' meeting, they discussed the referendum, the national reconciliation process and the passing of a UN Security Council resolution to hold ISIS accountable for its crimes, according a UN statement.

The meetings took place after an estimated 40,000 people rallied in the Kurdistan Region's capital of Erbil to hear President Masoud Barzani deliver a speech marking the end of official referendum campaigns on Friday.

“The referendum is out of my hands now, or the political parties. It is now in your hands – the people of Kurdistan,” he said.

He explained that “either we live a life of subordination, or a free life," rejecting international concerns that Monday's referendum would affect the Kurdish Peshmerga's ability to contribute to the fight against ISIS.

“We will be more insistent in the fight against ISIS and will fight even stronger,” he reassured.

Diaspora e-voting for the referendum began on Saturday and continues through Monday, when the local vote will be held.



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