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Massud Barzani

Barzani to step down as Kurdish leader in Iraq

ARBIL, IRAQ: Massud Barzani, the president of the autonomous Kurdish region in Iraq, told a closed-door session of parliament Sunday he was stepping down amid the fallout from a controversial independence referendum. "After November 1, I will no longer exercise my functions, and I reject any extension of my mandate," the 71-year-old said in a letter read out to parliament in the Kurdish capital Arbil. "Changing the law on the presidency of Kurdistan or prolonging the presidential term is not acceptable," said the…

Iraq Kurds offer to freeze independence vote

ERBIL/BAGHDAD: Iraqi Kurdish leaders offered on Wednesday to freeze the outcome of last month's vote for independence, taking a step back in a major crisis that prompted Baghdad to seize swathes of disputed territory. The offer came as world powers scrambled to avert any further escalation of the conflict between the key allies in the fight against the Islamic State group that has seen more than 30 combatants killed. There was no immediate reaction from Baghdad but the Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation) force,…

Baghad accuses Kurds of ‘declaration of war’

BAGHDAD: Baghdad said on Sunday that foreign Kurdish forces were present in the province of Kirkuk in what amounted to a "declaration of war", dramatically raising the stakes in its dispute with Iraq's Kurds. Kurdish officials denied Baghdad's claim that forces from Turkey's outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) were among its peshmerga fighters in an armed standoff with Iraqi troops in the oil-rich province. But the National Security Council headed by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said PKK fighters were among…

Massive ‘yes’ vote in Iraqi Kurd independence referendum

ERBIL: Iraq's Kurds announced a massive "yes" vote for independence on Wednesday following a referendum that has incensed Baghdad and sparked international concern. Official results showed 92.73 percent of voters backing statehood in Monday's non-binding referendum, which Iraq's central government rejected as illegal. Turnout was put at 72.61 percent. Longtime Iraqi Kurd leader Massud Barzani said the vote would not lead to an immediate declaration of independence and should instead open the door to negotiations.…

Iraq Kurd head says Baghdad partnership ‘failed’, vote to go ahead

ERBIL: Iraqi Kurdish leader Massud Barzani, on the eve of a disputed independence referendum, said on Sunday that his people's "partnership with Baghdad has failed" and urged them to go to the polls. "We have reached the conclusion that independence will allow us not to repeat past tragedies," he told a news conference in Arbil, capital of autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan in northern Iraq. "The partnership with Baghdad has failed and we will not return to it," said Barzani, who has resisted pressure from the central government,…

Saudi Arabia urges Kurds to scrap independence referendum

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Wednesday urged Iraqi Kurdish leader Massud Barzani to call off to planned referendum on independence for his autonomous region to avoid further "crises" in Iraq and the region. A Saudi government official said Barzani should drop plans to hold a referendum "in light of the situation in the region and the dangers it is facing, and in order to avoid new crises". He called on the Kurdish leader to make use of his "wisdom and experience", the state-run Saudi Press Agency said. Holding the…