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Iraqi PM Has Not Agreed on Kurdistan Region's Referendum, Says Advisor

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has not agreed on holding a referendum in the Kurdistan Region, the premier's advisor said.

Abadi's advisor Ali Atar told NRT on Friday (May 12) that the Iraqi PM had not expressed he was convinced over the referendum in the region during a meeting with a Kurdish delegation.

The advisor added the Kurdish delegation and Abadi had only discussed the referendum.

"Abadi told the Kurdish delegation that all issues would be resolved through the constitution and dialogue," Atar said. "The Kurdish request for independence is not new and [has been discussed] for years."

A delegation from the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) bloc in the Iraqi Parliament held talks with Abadi on Thursday (May 11) to discuss a series of issues including the referendum.

KDP lawmaker in Iraqi parliament Ardallan Nuradini said Abadi had told the delegation the government of Iraq would not prevent the referendum, adding "Abadi has preferred not to be in a rush. The neighboring countries may accept the case too."

Senior Kurdish officials have made calls for an independence referendum in the region to gauge people's appetites for such a move, despite the number of crises currently affecting the KRG.

KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani said on March 23 that a referendum on the independence of the Kurdistan Region was set to take place this year.

A joint Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and KDP delegation visited Baghdad in April to meet with Iraqi President Fuad Masum, Abadi and Parliament Speaker Salim al-Jabouri and other leaders to discuss recent situation in Kirkuk and referendum on independence of Kurdistan.

The KRG and representatives from the PUK and the KDP have met with foreign representatives and diplomats in Erbil to discuss the referendum on the independence of Kurdistan.

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