Iraq insists Kurds cancel referendum

Iraq’s Kurdistan region has offered a joint Kurdish-Iraqi deployment at a strategic crossing into Turkey, with the participation of the U.S.-led coalition that was assisting to defeat Islamic State.

The offer was disclosed hours after Iraqi armed forces accused the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) of delaying the handover to Iraq of control of the borders with Turkey, Iran and Syria, and threatened to resume operations to capture Kurdish-held areas.

The KRG defense department said the offer was part of a “deconfliction” proposal made to the Iraqi government on October; 31.

The other elements included a ceasefire on all fronts, continued cooperation in the fight against Islamic State and a joint deployment in so-called disputed territories, which are areas claimed by both the KRG and the Iraqi central government.

The KRG “continues to welcome a permanent ceasefire on all fronts, deconfliction and the start of a political dialogue” with Baghdad, the Kurdish statement said.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ordered economic and military retaliation after Iraqi Kurds voted for independence in a referendum held in September that Baghdad declared illegal. He insists that the KRG cancels the referendum outcome as a precondition for any dialogue. Iran and Turkey back his measures against Iraq’s Kurds, fearing the drive for independence will spread to their own Kurdish populations.

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