Monday, September 18, 2017

UN's Guterres urges Kurds in Iraq to scrap referendum

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged Kurds in Iraq to scrap plans to hold a referendum on independence later this month, arguing it would detract from the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group.

Guterres said in a statement on Sunday that any dispute between the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan regional government should be resolved through dialogue and "constructive compromise".

Iraq's Kurdish region plans to hold the referendum on support for independence from Iraq on September 25 in three governorates that make up their autonomous region, and in disputed areas controlled by Kurdish forces, but which are claimed by Baghdad.

Guterres said "any unilateral decision to hold a referendum at this time would detract from the need to defeat ISIL".

It would also undermine reconstruction efforts and the return of refugees, he added.

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