Rosneft completes pipeline project in Iraqi Kurdistan

Casey Dawson
September 20, 2017

The Iraqi Kurds plan to hold the referendum on September 25 in three governorates that make up their self-ruled region, as well as in disputed areas that are controlled by Kurdish forces but claimed by Baghdad, including the oil-rich province of Kirkuk.

Jan Kubis, the top United Nations envoy in Iraq, last week offered worldwide backing for immediate negotiations between the country's federal government and the autonomous region in a bid to get Iraqi Kurdish leader Massud Barzani to drop the plans.

"We want the government and parliament of fraternal Azerbaijan to adopt a statement condemning the referendum decision of the Kurdish autonomous region of northern Iraq and stressing that it's unacceptable to associate the future of Kirkuk and other Turkmen regions with the referendum", Salihi added.

According to Reuters, the Kurdish security and the police erected checkpoints across the city after a Kurd was killed in a clash with the guards of a Turkmen political party office.

Oil-rich Kirkuk, which is also home to Sunni Arabs and Turkmens, lies outside the official boundaries of the Kurdistan autonomous region and is claimed by both the Kurds and the central government in Baghdad.

Kurdish President Masoud Barzani is vowing to go ahead with a referendum on Kurdish independence, despite an Iraqi Supreme Court ruling ordering a halt to next week's vote.

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Iraqi Kurdistan has enjoyed regional autonomy since the 1990s, a status bolstered in the 2005 Constitution that defined Iraq as a federal state.

Turkey launched a military drill featuring tanks close to the Iraqi border on Monday, its army said.

On Friday, the White House also called on the Kurdish Regional Government to call off the referendum, saying it was "distracting from efforts to defeat ISIS". Rosneft has long sought to challenge Gazprom, Russia's gas export monopoly, in supplying gas to Europe.

At the same time, the Kurdistan Region is moving forward with its historic referendum on independence scheduled for Sep. 25.

Navasardyan reminded that great powers voice strong objections to the referendum planned on September 25.

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