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The New Arab

Kurdish lawmakers boycott Iraq parliament session in Baghdad

Iraqi Kurds voted 92.7 percent in favour of independence on September 25 [AFP]

Date of publication: 3 October, 2017

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Kurdish MPs were absent from Tuesday's parliamentary session in Baghdad as tensions soared between the central government and Iraq's Kurdish region following a controversial independence referendum.
Kurdish lawmakers will not attend a parliamentary session underway in Baghdad on Tuesday, an Iraqi MP said, as tensions soared between the central government and Iraq's Kurdish region following a controversial independence referendum.

Kurdish MPs were absent from Tuesday's session, MP Mohammed al-Karbouli said, according to AP.

Iraqi Kurds voted 92.7 percent in favour of independence on September 25 in a non-binding referendum held in defiance of the central government, which quickly retaliated.

Parliament has asked for harsh measures in response to the vote, including sending federal troops to retake the contested oil-rich city of Kirkuk, which is held by Kurdish forces but claimed by Baghdad.

Lawmakers also dismissed the ethnically mixed Kirkuk province's Kurdish governor who supported the referendum.

Iraqi forces staged joint military exercises with Iranian troops on Monday along the border of the Kurdistan region.

"Iraqi and Iranian units began exercises at 11:00 am (0800 GMT) with tanks and infantry only 250 metres (yards) from the border," said Shwan Abu Bakr, the Kurdish customs chief at the Bashmakh border post.

"Iraqi forces are dressed in black and there is a large number of Iranian forces," he said, the black uniforms indicating that the Iraqi forces were from the country's elite Counter Terrorism Service

Following the vote, Iraq, Iran and Turkey took measures to isolate Iraqi Kurdistan, including suspending international flights to and from its two main airports.

The measures included Iran announcing an indefinite ban on the transport of oil and energy products to and from Iraqi Kurdistan.

An Iranian official said on Monday that some 600 full fuel tankers were now blocked by Iranian customs from crossing the border.

Turkey and Iran, which fear the vote will embolden their own sizeable Kurdish minorities, also threatened action against the Iraqi Kurds.

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