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92% Kurds vote in favour of independence from Iraq: Officials

Head of Kurdish region's election commission, announced official results saying referendum passed with 92.73% support and turnout of 72%

AP | PTI  |  Irbil (Iraq) 

Supporters of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, known as the PKK, chant slogans as they take part in a demonstration demanding the release of Kurdish guerrilla leader Abdullah Ocalan, in front of the United Nations Headquarters in Beirut. Photo: AP/PTI
Supporters of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, known as the PKK, chant slogans as they take part in a demonstration demanding the release of Kurdish guerrilla leader Abdullah Ocalan, in front of the United Nations Headquarters in Beirut. Photo: AP/PTI

The Kurdish referendum on from Iraq was approved by more than 92 per cent of voters, officials said today, as Iraq's prime minister vowed to keep his country united without resorting to the use of force.

Even with the strong support, the non-binding is unlikely to lead to formal independence, but it has escalated long-running tensions with Baghdad, which has moved to block flights in and out of the Kurds' autonomous region. Iraq and its neighbours, along with virtually the entire community, are opposed to any redrawing of the map.


Hendrin Mohammed, the head of the Kurdish region's election commission, announced the official results at a press conference, saying the referendum passed with 92.73 per cent support and turnout of more than 72 per cent.

The was held across the autonomous Kurdish region's three provinces as well as in some disputed territories controlled by Kurdish forces but claimed by

Iraq's Arab-dominated parliament has approved a 13-point resolution that gives al-Abadi the mandate to deploy troops in the disputed territories, including the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, but Prime Minister said today he doesn't want a "fight between the Iraqi citizens."

At a meeting with lawmakers, he instead vowed to "enforce the rule of the federal authority in the Kurdish region with the power of the constitution."

Today, parliament modified the resolution to demand that refrain from taking part in any dialogue with the Kurds until the results of Monday's are cancelled. It also called on the government to bring those behind the vote, including Kurdish regional president Masoud Barzani, to justice. The demands are non-binding.

Al-Abadi has ordered the Kurdish region to hand over control of its airports to federal authorities by Friday, threatening a flight ban if they refuse. Iraq's Transport Ministry has ordered airlines to halt service to Irbil, the Kurdish regional capital, and Sulaimaniyah, its second city, beginning Friday evening.

Middle East Airlines, the flagship carrier of Lebanon, and EgyptAir have announced that they will comply, cancelling all flights after Friday. Low-cost airline FlyDubai says its flights to Irbil are in question from Saturday on.

The transport minister for Iraq's Kurdish region said today the region's airports have not violated any laws that would warrant their closure.

Mawlood Bawa Murad told reporters his ministry is ready to negotiate with "if they want to implement the law and show that Iraq has one air space."

He added that the flight ban would affect, "one way or another, the military aviation that operates from Irbil airport," which is used for the campaign against the Islamic State group.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, September 27 2017. 21:24 IST
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