By Idris Okuducu
An official in northern Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) on Saturday urged the government to consider recent proposals from the international community to cancel Monday’s referendum for Kurdish region independence.
"Considering the current situation of the world, Iraq, and the Kurdish region, the PUK urges that the proposal by friendly countries and the United Nations should be taken into account,” Mela Bahtiyar, a member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), said in a statement, referring to recent statements in which the world body -- along with Washington, London, and Ankara – expressed their opposition to the referendum.
“Taking the proposals into account,” Bahtiyar added, “serves the strategic objectives that our people want to achieve”.
Bahtiyar said the PUK conveyed its opinion to Masoud Barzani, head of the KRG.
Next Monday’s referendum will see Iraqis in KRG-controlled areas -- and in a handful of territories disputed between Erbil and Baghdad -- vote on whether or not to declare independence from Iraq.
Along with the Iraqi government, Turkey, the U.S., Iran, and the UN have all voiced their opposition to the planned poll.
Baghdad has even threatened to intervene militarily in the event that the vote leads to violence.
Barzani, for his part, has said that a victory for the “yes” vote would not initiate an automatic declaration of independence but would simply lead to further negotiations with Baghdad.