World Bulletin / News Desk
The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) announced Tuesday that KDP lawmakers would boycott parliamentary sessions in Baghdad until Iraq’s central government reversed all sanctions imposed on Erbil since last month’s illegitimate regional poll.
Along with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), the KDP is a main coalition partner in northern Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) led by KDP chief Masoud Barzani.
Speaking at a press conference in Erbil, the KRG’s administrative capital, Renas Cano, a KDP representative in Iraq’s parliament, complained that Baghdad had slapped Erbil with new sanctions “every day” since last month’s referendum.
“If the Iraqi government insists on levying sanctions,” Cano said, “KDP lawmakers will refrain from visiting Baghdad to attend sessions of parliament.”
On Sept. 25, Iraqis in KRG-held areas -- and in several areas disputed between Baghdad and Erbil -- voted on whether or not to declare independence from Iraq.
According to results announced by the KRG, almost 93 percent of those who cast ballots voted in favor of independence.
The referendum had faced sharp opposition from most regional and international actors (including the U.S., Turkey and Iran), who had warned that the poll would distract from Iraq’s ongoing fight against terrorism and further destabilize the region.
In the two weeks since the referendum, Baghdad has taken several retaliatory steps against the KRG, including a ban on all international flights into the Kurdish region and the closure of foreign diplomatic missions based there.
On Monday, Iraq’s Council of Ministers also announced that legal procedures had been initiated against all KRG employees involved in organizing the illegal poll.
The steps include improving security barriers in crowded places, guidance on design to protect public spaces, and advice on how to protect sports and cultural events.
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