Iraq's parliament speaker heads to Erbil to tackle post-vote stalemate

Source: Xinhua| 2017-10-08 18:57:30|Editor: Zhou Xin
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BAGHDAD, Oct. 8 (Xinhua) -- The Iraqi Parliament Speaker Salim al-Jubouri flew to Erbil in the region of Kurdistan on Sunday to hold talks with the regional President Masoud Barzani in a bid to break the independence referendum stalemate.

Jubouri's office said in a brief statement that "the Speaker of the Iraqi Council of Representatives (parliament) heads to Erbil to meet with Masoud Barzani."

On Tuesday, Jubouri said in a statement that he intended to hold talks with all political parties, including the Kurdish ones, to find a solution for the political impasse that followed the referendum on independence of the Kurdish region.

"These talks would be an opportunity to defuse the crisis, and to initiate measures that would reduce the tension and lead to fruitful dialogue," Jubouri said.

Jubouri's trip to Kurdistan region came as the Iraqi parliament and government called on the Kurdish regional government to cancel the results of the referendum on independence held by the Kurdish region on Sept. 25.

Earlier, the parliament passed a number of punitive measures that included suspension of international flights to the Kurdish region and blocking all the border crossings which are outside the control of the federal authorities, and call on the neighboring countries (Turkey and Iran) to help the Iraqi government block the crossings.

On Sept. 27, the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi called on the Kurdish regional government to cancel the results of the controversial independence referendum.

"We want Kurdistan region to cancel the outcomes of the referendum if they want to start talks with Baghdad, which must be under the roof of the constitution," Abadi told the lawmaker when attended a parliament session to discuss the crisis with the Kurds.

The independence of Kurdistan is opposed not only by the Iraqi central government, but also by most other countries, because it would threaten the integrity of Iraq and undermine the fight against Islamic State (IS) militants.

Iraq's neighboring countries, especially Turkey, Iran and Syria, fear the Iraqi Kurdish independence move would threaten their territorial integrity, as large population of Kurds live in those countries.

The United States has repeatedly warned the Kurds to postpone the referendum, saying such move could derail or confuse the war against IS.