Saturday, August 12, 2017

US Asks Iraq's Kurds to Postpone Vote on Ind.; Turkey, Iran, Syria, Iraq Oppose Ind. Kurdistan

The U.S. has asked Iraq's Kurds to postpone a referendum on the independence of their autonomous Kurdish region -- planned for September 25 -- the VOA News website reports today (August 12, 2017).

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made the request today, during a phone call to the president of Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government, Massoud Barzani.

The U.S. State Department is concerned that the referendum will distract from "more urgent priorities" such as the defeat of the Islamic State (IS) militants. Kurdish fighters are playing a significant role -- backed by U.S. military advisers and equipment -- in helping to defeat the IS in Iraq and Syria.

Turkey, Iran, Syria, and Iraq -- which have large Kurdish populations -- are all opposed to the establishment of an independent Kurdish state.

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