Kurdish authority freezes referendum to 'avoid war' with Iraq government

Kurdish authority freezes referendum to 'avoid war' with Iraq government
The Kurdistan Regional Government has announced that the results on a referendum on Kurdish independence will be put on ice to prevent the continued violence between peshmerga forces and Iraq.
2 min read
25 October, 2017
Kurdistan has frozen the independence referendum results [Getty]
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Erbil said on Tuesday it had frozen the results of a referendum that overwhelmingly backed Kurdish independence to avoid war with the Iraqi government.

"As Iraq and Kurdistan are faced with grave and dangerous circumstances, we are all obliged to act responsibly to avoid further violence and clashes between Iraqi and Peshmerga forces", a statement from the KRG said late Tuesday [GMT].

The statement follows tensions between Baghdad and Erbil that build up over the 25 September referendum in Kurdish territories.

This led to pro-Iraqi government forces seizing the disputed city of Kirkuk as they drove towards the Kurdish capital Erbil.

KRG officials said it had proposed to Baghdad an "immediate ceasefire and halt of all military operations... [a] freeze in the results of the referendum... [and to] begin dialogue between the Baghdad and Erbil".

"We want to undo what the terrorists have done" Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi said.

"We have victory over the terrorists, but that true victory is to undo whatever they have done by working together, by being homogeneous, even if we are different", he added.

This comes hours after parliament in Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region decided to hold legislative elections in eight months, after they were delayed amid tensions over territories claimed by Erbil and the central government in Baghdad.

Simultaneous legislative and presidential elections in the Kurdish region had been due to take place on 1 November but were delayed.

More to follow...