Kurds offer to freeze independence

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Baghdad: The Kurdistan Regional Government has offered to freeze the results of a recent disputed independence referendum and enter dialogue with Baghdad.
The governmentásaid in a statementáthat it proposed a ceasefire “in order to prevent further violence and clashes”.
Last week fighting broke out when Iraqi government forces seized the oil-rich city of Kirkuk and other areas controlled by the Kurds. It follows a Kurdish vote on the region’s independence from Baghdad.
“Continued fighting does not lead any side to victory, but it will drive the country towards disarray and chaos,” the government statement adds.
“Attacks and confrontations between Iraqi and Peshmerga forces that started on 16 October … could lead to a continuous bloodshed,” it reads.
The Iraqi government regards the Kurdish vote for independence as illegal and has called for dialogue to resolve the crisis.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi last month demanded that the Kurdistan Regional Government “cancel” the outcome of the referendum.
He said the vote was a threat to the “peaceful co-existence among Iraqis, and is a danger to the region”, adding that he would “impose Iraq’s rule” in the area.

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