Iraq MPs vote against Kurdish referendum

Iraq MPs vote against Kurdish referendum

But the statement said Israel "supports the legitimate efforts of the Kurdish people to attain a state of its own".

At the same time, Israel opposes the activities of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and considers it a terrorist group, the prime minister added.

The US and the European Union have classified the PKK as a terrorist organization, and since 1984 it has killed more than 40,000 people in attacks against both civilian and military targets.

Israel's leader on Wednesday said his country supports Kurdish independence ahead of a key referendum on the matter.

Netanyahu's endorsement clashes with the positions of the US and Turkey.

Up until last month, Netanyahu had not spoken publicly about the issue since 2014 when he said during a speech that Israel should "support the Kurdish aspiration for independence".

Israel has a longstanding relationship with the Kurds, whom it regards as one of the few non-Arab allies in the area.

Earlier in the day, the Iraqi parliament voted on a draft of law rejecting the Kurdish independence referendum, putting obligation on Abadi to "take all measures that preserve the unity of Iraq and start a serious dialogue to address outstanding issues between Baghdad and the Kurdish region".

Three months ago, senior officials and political parties in the Iraqi Kurdistan region made a decision to hold a referendum meant to assess their independence.

In June, Erbil, the capital of the semi-autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan region announced its plans to hold an independence referendum scheduled to take place on September 25.

The parliament resolution states that the referendum is a "threat to Iraq's integrity, which is guaranteed by the addition to the civil peace and the regional security".

The Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITF) on Tuesday boycotted a meeting held in Kirkuk between Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) President Masoud Barzani and ethnic and religious groups based in the city.

Turkey and Iran, concerned about separatist leanings among their own Kurdish populations, are also opposed to the referendum, and the United Nations mission to Iraq has said it will not be "engaged in any way or form" in the vote.

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