by Staff Writers
United Nations, United States (AFP) Oct 26, 2017
The UN Security Council on Thursday urged the Iraqi government and regional leaders in Kurdistan to set a timetable for talks to end a crisis triggered by last month's Kurdish referendum on independence.
The appeal from the top UN body came after Baghdad dismissed an offer from Iraqi Kurdish leaders to freeze the outcome of the referendum, which delivered a resounding yes to independence, and hold talks.
"Council members noted that the federal and regional governments have both expressed willingness to engage in dialogue," said French Ambassador Francois Delattre, who holds this month's council presidency.
"We encourage them to expeditiously set a timetable to hold these discussions," Delattre told reporters after the meeting.
The council met behind closed doors at the request of France and Sweden to hear a report form UN envoy Jan Kubis on the crisis.
Delattre said council members were concerned by the increased tensions and reports of violence, and were calling on both sides to refrain from using force.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi earlier rejected the Kurdish offer for a freeze and demanded the annulment of the September 25 vote for independence.
Baghdad dismisses Kurd offer to freeze independence vote
A spokesman for Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said the referendum had already been consigned to history by facts on the ground after Iraqi federal troops and allied militia overran thousands of square kilometres (miles) of disputed territory long claimed by the Kurds.
"They speak of freezing the referendum but our answer is this -- the referendum belongs to the past and we have finished with it on the ground," Abadi's chief spokesman Haidar Hamada said on Facebook.
Iraqi Kurdish leaders offered on Wednesday to freeze the outcome of the September 25 vote which delivered a resounding yes to independence, in a bid to ease the crisis in their relations with Baghdad.
The proposal 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 had been no immediate response from Baghdad but the Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation) force, whose mainly Iran-trained Shiite paramilitaries played a major role in the operation against the Kurds, said a freeze did not go far enough and demanded the outright annulment of the independence referendum.
Arbil, Iraq (AFP) Oct 25, 2017
Iraqi Kurdish leaders offered Wednesday to freeze the outcome of last month's vote for independence, taking a step back in a major crisis after Baghdad delivered a body blow by seizing swathes of disputed territory. The proposal 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 ... read more
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