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French president asks Kurd leader to delay region poll


French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday asked Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) President Masoud Barzani to postpone next week’s controversial referendum on Kurdish regional independence.

In a phone conversation, the two men discussed the “important role” played by Kurdish Peshmerga forces in the ongoing fight against Daesh in Iraq, according to a statement issued by Barzani’s office.

In regard to next Monday’s referendum, Macron stressed France’s support both for the rights of the region’s Kurds — within the framework of Iraq’s national charter — and the maintenance of Iraq’s territorial integrity.

Barzani nevertheless confirmed to Macron that the referendum would be held on schedule, while also stressing Erbil’s readiness to hold dialogue with Baghdad after the poll.