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Iraq Criticizes Plan for Kurd Independence Vote

(AP) -- The Iraqi government is criticizing the announcement by the Kurdish autonomous government that it will hold a referendum on independence in September.

This week, Masoud Barzani, the president of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region, announced plans for a referendum on Sept. 25 on whether to secede from Iraq. The vote would be held in three governorates that make up the Kurdish region and in the areas that are disputed by the Kurdish and Iraqi governments.

In Baghdad's first comment on the Kurdish move, government spokesman Saad al-Hadithi said Friday the Kurds cannot take such a move alone.

Al-Hadithi says: "All Iraqis must have a say in defining the future of their nation. No single party can determine the future of Iraq in isolation from the other. Any decision on this issue must be taken in consultation with other parties and safeguard national consensus."


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