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Iraq Top Court Rules to Suspend Kurdish Referendum

Iraq Top Court Rules to Suspend Kurdish Referendum

A statement from the court on Monday said referendum procedures would be put on hold until it had examined the plebiscite's legality.

Court spokesman Ayas al-Samouk told AFP it had "received several complaints", as a parliamentary source said at least eight lawmakers had called on the court to intervene on constitutional grounds.

Iraq's Kurdish region plans to hold the vote on support for independence on September 25 in the three provinces that make up the region, as well as disputed territories claimed by both the Kurdish region and Baghdad.

Speaking to reporters at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport before leaving for NY to attend the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly, Erdogan said, "We will hold a separate meeting with Iraqi Premier Haider al Abadi, but as far as I see, we are looking in the same direction".

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves le Drian, speaking on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in NY, echoed widespread global concern about the referendum.

Britain's Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said he would try to persuade Iraqi Kurdish leader Massud Barzani at a meeting later Monday to call off a controversial September 25 independence referendum.

In response to Barzani insistence on referendum for independence, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi told the Associated Press in an interview on Saturday that Kurdish authorities are "playing with fire" by planning to hold a referendum on the independence of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.

Earlier, Turkey's military said it had kicked off a previously unannounced drill near its border with Iraq. "We are working with the United Nations on alternatives to this referendum", he said before heading to the Iraqi Kurdish capital in the northern city.

Only Israel supports of Kurdish independence, although Russia's state-run energy firm Rosneft said Monday it hopes to invest in the region's pipeline network.

He has mustered huge popular support for the vote, with the streets of Arbil festooned with red, white and green Kurdish flags and large crowds holding nightly rallies. It's opposed to the Iraqi Kurdish moves for independence and has urged Iraqi Kurdish leaders to cancel the vote.

The Kurds are a non-Arab ethnic group numbering between 25 and 35 million people who are spread across parts of Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran.

Iran, with a sizeable Kurdish minority of its own, warned Sunday that Iraqi Kurdish independence would mean an end to all border and security arrangements with the KRG.

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