Iraqi Kurdistan Parl't Approves Independence Referendum on September 25

Kurdish men march in support of the independence referendum carrying

No alternative that can replace the independence referendum has been offered, KRG President Masoud Barzani said, and refused to postpone the independence referendum, one day after the USA, United Nations and the U.K. presented what they called an "alternative" in an effort to convince Irbil to postpone the vote.

McGurk said he was optimistic Kurdish leaders would accept an alternative plan that would focus on dialogue between the region and Baghdad and postpone the referendum.

The referendum is scheduled for September 25, when more than 5 million Kurds in northern Iraq will determine if they want to secede from Iraq.

But hours later at a pro-referendum rally in Zakho, Barzani told those gathered that they would vote on September 25 as planned, according to local media.

On Tuesday deputies of Iraq's national parliament in Baghdad voted against the Kurdish independence referendum and called on Baghdad to negotiate with the semi-autonomous Kurdish government.

Downplaying his removal, Karim told Reuters the vote will take place.

Turkey and Iran also strongly object the referendum.

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"This referendum is ill-timed and ill-advised", McGurk told reports in Irbil.

No more details have been disclosed about the nature of the offer.

Barzani criticized those claiming that referendum does not have legitimacy, saying "the referendum's legitimacy comes from the people of Kurdistan".

"The Kurdistan political leadership shall meet soon to discuss the alternative and the position of the Kurdistan Region will be declared as a result of that meeting", the statement said.

The United States and Western allies pressed Iraqi Kurdish leaders to ditch a "very risky" independence vote on Thursday, presenting an alternative plan in an attempt to avoid conflict between the oil rich region and central government in Baghdad. "If our will is strong, we will achieve victory", Barzani said. Late last month, Kirkuk's provincial council voted to take part in the referendum.

With the exception of Israel, nearly all Western countries friendly to the Iraqi Kurds have publicly opposed the Kurdish referendum. It has its own parliament and armed forces, flies its own flag, and has been a close US ally against IS and other militant groups. "But those steps have forced us to reconsider", Erdogan said.

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