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US State Department urges Kurdish parties to work for united Iraq

US State Department urges Kurdish parties to work for united Iraq”

Barzani said on Sunday he would give up his position as president on november 1 after an independence referendum he championed in northern Iraq backfired and triggered military and economic retaliation by the Iraqi government.

Yet it is unclear if Sunday was the final curtain for Barzani, an ardent Kurdish nationalist since the age of 16 who took up the mantle of his father, the Kurdish leader Mustafa Barzani, after his death in 1979.

Barzani instructed parliament to distribute his presidential powers between the Kurdish prime minister, parliament and the judiciary.

The men - reportedly KDP supporters angered by comments made earlier that day by Gorran MP Rabun Maroof about the president and the Peshmerga - attacked local journalists and trapped lawmakers inside until local police, known as the Asayesh, fired into the air to disperse them.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is calling for calm and respect for the law after Barzani's announcement.

Doctors Without Borders said yesterday that fighting between Iraqi forces and Kurdish fighters near the border threatens the delivery of humanitarian aid to half a million newly displaced civilians in northeastern Syria.

Armed protesters supporting Mr Barzani stormed parliament as it met on Sunday to approve his resignation.

Abadi said he was following developments in the Kurdish area closely.

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"I encouraged both [PM Barzani and Abadi] to continue to de-escalate the situation on the ground in Iraq and to avoid misunderstandings that could lead to conflict", Johnson said.

The region has become increasingly isolated as neighbouring Turkey threatened the use of military force and Ankara as well as Tehran closed their borders to the land-locked area.

James Jeffery is with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and a former diplomat.

That agreement, Barzani said on Sunday, was nothing less than a "stab in the back" that undermined the entire region.

It came as Rudaw on Monday accused Iranian-backed Iraqi paramilitaries who are operating alongside government forces of killing a Kurdish journalist, Arkan Sharif, in Kirkuk province.

He blamed the central government in Baghdad, which had dismissed the Kurdish vote as illegal, accusing it of escalating tensions.

Scattered clashes have erupted in recent weeks as Iraqi forces have retaken disputed territory from the Kurds, part of a crisis sparked by last month's Kurdish vote for independence.

Masoud Barzani has been president of the Kurdish Regional Government since 2005.



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