Kurdistan Region rejects U.S. request to postpone referendum
Iraq's Kurds are sticking to a plan to hold an independence referendum on Sept. 25, despite a U.S. request to postpone it, a high-ranking Kurdish official told Reuters on Saturday.

"The date is standing, Sept. 25, no change," said Hoshyar Zebari, a close adviser to Kurdistan Regional Government President Masoud Barzani, after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson asked Barzani to postpone the referendum.

Tillerson made the request in a phone call with Barzani on Thursday, Zebari said.

"On the issue of the postponement of the referendum, the President (Barzani) stated that the people of the Kurdistan Region would expect guarantees and alternatives for their future," said a statement issued on Friday by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) presidency, after Tillerson's call.

The U.S. State Department said in June it was concerned that the referendum will distract from "more urgent priorities" such as the defeat of Islamic State militants.

Islamic State's self-proclaimed "caliphate" effectively collapsed last month, when U.S.-backed Iraqi forces completed the takeover of the militants' capital in Iraq, Mosul, after a nine-month campaign in which Kurdish Peshmerga fighters took part.

Reporter’s code: 50101

News Code: 16726  |  Date: 2017/08/13  |  Time: 8 : 40

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