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Baghdad Insists Outcome Of Kurdish Independence Vote Be Canceled


Iranian President Hassan Rohani (right) meets with Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi in Tehran on October 26.

Iraq's federal government has insisted that the Kurdish independence referendum be declared void, in an apparent rejection of an offer by the Kurdistan regional government to suspend the results of the vote to facilitate dialogue with Baghdad.

"We won't accept anything but its cancellation and the respect of the constitution," Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi said in an October 26 statement. The announcement comes as Abadi is visiting to Iran.

Iraq's Kurdish region proposed on October 24 an "immediate cease-fire," a "freeze" of the independence referendum's results, and "starting an open dialogue with the federal government based on the Iraqi Constitution."

Kurds opted for independence by 92 percent in the September 25 vote, which Baghdad has repeatedly denounced as illegal. The plebiscite was also opposed by regional powers Iran and Turkey and most Western governments.

Iraqi forces supported by Iran-backed Shi'ite militias last week took over the oil-rich province of Kirkuk and other areas that came under control of Kurdish Peshmerga forces as they ousted the Islamic State extremist group from the region in recent years.

Dozens of Peshmerga fighters and Shi'ite militia members were reported killed in clashes.

Based on reporting by Reuters, dpa, and AP
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