By Ibrahim Salih
The U.S. embassy in Iraq on Sunday warned U.S. citizens against potential unrest over a planned referendum on the secession of northern Iraq.
In a statement, the embassy said there may be unrest if the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) carries out the referendum, set for Monday.
The embassy said that it will temporarily limit personnel movements as a precautionary measure.
“U.S. citizens should avoid travel into and within territories disputed between the Kurdish Regional Government and the Government of Iraq,” the statement added.
The non-binding referendum will see Iraqis in KRG-held areas -- and in a handful of territories disputed between Erbil and Baghdad -- vote whether to secede from Iraq.
Along with Baghdad, Turkey, the U.S., Iran and the UN have all spoken out against the poll, saying it will only distract from the ongoing fight against Daesh and further destabilize the region.
Iraq’s central government has threatened to intervene militarily if the vote leads to violence.
KRG’s leader, Masoud Barzani, has said a “Yes” vote would not result in an automatic declaration of independence but would simply lead to further negotiations with Baghdad.