Barzani seeks referendum on disputed areas

'A referendum on regional independence would be held within months'

ARBIL, Iraq - Iraqi Kurdish regional president Massud Barzani will address the Kurdish parliament Thursday on holding a referendum in disputed areas, after vowing to hold a plebiscite within months, an MP said.
Farsat Sufi, a lawmaker in the Kurdish parliament, said the referendum would be on Article 140, the section of the Iraqi constitution that provides for a vote on whether disputed northern territory will join the Kurdish region or remain under direct federal control.
But Barzani also told the BBC this week that a referendum on regional independence would be held within months.
The Kurdish leader would also urge parliament to speed up the approval of a law establishing an independent electoral commission for the region, said Sufi, an MP from Barzani's party.
At present, elections across Iraq are organised by the country's Independent High Electoral Commission, including votes in Kurdish areas.
Federal security forces abandoned positions in a swathe of northern territory when faced with a Sunni militant offensive that began June 9, allowing Iraqi Kurds to take control of disputed areas they have long wanted to incorporate into their autonomous region over Baghdad's strong objections.
Barzani has previously declared that the territory dispute is finished, meaning Kurdish control of the areas would continue.
But Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on Wednesday dismissed that assertion.
"No one has the right to exploit the events that took place to impose a fait accompli, as happened in some of the actions of the Kurdistan region. This is rejected."