Governor of Kirkuk Province Najmaddin Kareem speaks during an interview with Reuters in Kirkuk, Iraq, September 14, 2017. REUTERS/Ako Rasheed
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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.Baghdad and Iraq's neighbors are opposed to the vote. Iraqi lawmakers say it will consolidate Kurdish control over several disputed areas, including oil-rich Kirkuk.Iraqi lawmakers say the referendum will consolidate Kurdish control over several disputed areas, including oil-rich Kirkuk.Kirkuk province is claimed by both the central government in Baghdad and Barzani's semi-autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq.Kareem is a vocal supporter of the referendum and campaigned for the vote also to be held in Kirkuk.Suhail gave no details about what Kareem was accused of and Kareem himself said he had not been informed.
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