Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Kurdistan Coalition willing to postpone Kirkuk referendum

(Voices of Iraq) - The Kurdistan Coalition has no problem with putting off the planned referendum on the situation in Kirkuk until the end of this year, the head of the coalition's parliamentary bloc Fuad Masoum said on Monday. "We have no problem with postponing the referendum on Kirkuk for two or three months or even more," Masoum told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI) by phone.
An Iraqi parliamentary vote on Saturday extended the work of the Constitutional Amendments Committee until the end of 2007, delaying the referendum on Kirkuk's status that was expected by the end of 2007. Masoum, who is also a member of the committee, said that the proposed constitutional amendments do not "conflict" with the referendum on Kirkuk. "The majority of parliamentary blocs agree that article 140 should not be subject to constitutional amendments," he said. Meanwhile the head of the committee, Humam Hamoudi, said on Saturday that the parliament's decision was taken in the light of the committee's failure to resolve several controversial issues, including article 140.
Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution is related to the normalization of the situation in Kirkuk, an important and mixed city of Kurds, Turkmen, Christians and Arabs. Kurds seek to include the city in the autonomous Iraq's Kurdistan region, while Sunni Arabs, Turkmen and Shiite Arabs oppose the incorporation. The article currently stipulates that all Arabs in Kirkuk be returned to their original locations in southern and central Iraqi areas, and formerly displaced residents returned to Kirkuk, 250 km northeast of Baghdad. A referendum, provided for in the Iraqi constitution, was scheduled to be held by the end of the current year on including the city into the Kurdistan region.

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