Baghdad dismisses Kurdish offer to freeze independence vote result, 'pushes for resignation of Masoud Barzani'
Baghdad on Thursday dismissed an offer from Iraqi Kurdish leaders to freeze the outcome of a vote for independence last month in a bid to pave the way for dialogue.
A spokesman for Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said the referendum had already been consigned to history by facts on the ground after Iraqi federal troops and allied militia overran thousands of square kilometres of disputed territory long claimed by the Kurds.
"They speak of freezing the referendum but our answer is this - the referendum belongs to the past and we have finished with it on the ground," Abadi's chief spokesman Haidar Hamada said on Facebook.
Iraqi Kurdish leaders offered on Wednesday to freeze the outcome of the September 25 vote which delivered a resounding yes to independence, in a bid to ease the crisis in their relations with Baghdad.
A source in the Shia ruling coalition told The New Arab on Wednesday that authorities have been pushing for Kurd leader Massud Barzani to step down.
"Freezing the referendum is deception with words, the government will not accept anything less than it and its consequences being annulled," the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said.
"Barzani will be dismissed or resign that is for certain. That is a Kurdish desire more that is it a desire of the Iraqi public,"
"We hope that Mr. Barzani will take responsibility and announce his resignation, allowing other leaders in his or another party to manage the region," he added.
Lawmaker Haidar al-Fawadi said that the government must end any communication with Barzani until he "completely cancels the referendum results".
The freeze proposal came as world powers scrambled to avert any further escalation of the conflict between the key allies in the fight against the Islamic State group that has seen more than 30 combatants killed.
The Hashed al-Shaabi force, whose mainly Iran-trained Shia paramilitaries played a major role in the operation against the Kurds, said a freeze did not go far enough and demanded the outright annulment of the independence referendum.