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Kurds set to vote in referendum

Kurds set to vote in referendum

Turkey started its military manoeuvers in southeastern Silopi region on Sept 18, a week ahead of the autonomous Kurdish Regional Government's referendum on independence from Iraq.

Residents of Iraq's Kurdish region cast their votes today in a controversial independence referendum seen as a way to signal the ethnic minority's desire for self-determination, despite strong opposition from regional and worldwide powers. "We don't want to destabilise Iraq or Kurdistan. but certainly our aim is an independent Iraqi Kurdistan in the near future". "The moment we shut the valve, that's the end of it".

For Iraqi Kurds - part of the largest ethnic group left stateless when the Ottoman empire collapsed a century ago - the referendum offered a historic opportunity despite intense global pressure to call it off.

Hours later, the Iraqi government called on all countries "to deal only with it on matters of oil and borders".

Turkey has also opposed the referendum and warned that the disintegration of Iraq has the potential to turn into a major global conflict.

Veteran Iraqi Kurd leader Massud Barzani, who initiated the vote, cast his ballot early in the morning, smiling and wearing a traditional outfit.

Iran says it will not be the first to violate N
Macron told reporters Tuesday that the 2015 agreement is the best option for now to keep watch on Iran's nuclear program. Tillerson is meeting at the United Nations with diplomats from the nations that are part of the 2015 nuclear deal.

Guterres said he was "concerned about the potentially destabilizing effects of today's referendum in the Kurdistan region of Iraq", in a statement from his spokesman.

Along with Baghdad, Turkey, the US, Iran and the United Nations have all spoken out against the poll, saying it will only distract from the ongoing fight against Daesh and further destabilize the region.

Also on Sunday, Iran closed its airspace to all flights to and from the Kurdish region at the request of the Iraqi government. "The Kurds are hoping that Iraq will reopen talks", Jane said.

He however said the vote was "not for defining borders or imposing a fait accompli".

Opposition to the vote emerged among non-Kurdish populations in areas disputed by the KRG and Baghdad, mainly the oil-rich region of Kirkuk.

The decision to carry out the referendum sparked threatening remarks by Turkey, which took special security measures and its Parliament reiterated that it will not recognize the independence exercise, in addition to extending the deployment of troops in Iraq and Syria for a year.

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