The referendum “is in your hands,” Barzani told a large crowd gathered at a football stadium in Irbil.
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Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani insisted Friday that a controversial Sept. 25 independence referendum for his autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq will go ahead, even as last-minute negotiations aimed to change his mind.Negotiations aimed at persuading Barzani to postpone any referendum are ongoing, according to officials close to the discussions.The Iraqi government is also opposed to the referendum in the oil-rich Kurdish region, which it has called unconstitutional.The Iraqi Kurds would like for these disputed areas to take part in the vote.The U.N. Security Council Thursday warned the referendum was "potentially destabilizing". The Iraqi Kurdish leader has refused to give in, and Thursday rejected an initiative from Iraqi President Fouad Massoum – who is himself a Kurd – for United Nations-backed negotiations.
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