UN Security Council pushes Iraq and Kurds to hold talks

UN Security Council pushes Iraq and Kurds to hold talks

The UN Security Council urged the Iraqi government and regional leaders in Kurdistan to set a timetable for talks to end a crisis triggered by last month's Kurdish referendum on independence.

The appeal from the top UN body came after Baghdad dismissed an offer from Iraqi Kurdish leaders to freeze the outcome of the referendum, which delivered a resounding yes to independence, and hold talks.

"Council members noted that the federal and regional governments have both expressed willingness to engage in dialogue," French Ambassador Francois Delattre, who holds this month's council presidency, said.

"We encourage them to expeditiously set a timetable to hold these discussions," the Daily Mail cited him as saying. 

Delattre said council members were concerned by the increased tensions and reports of violence, and were calling on both sides to refrain from using force.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi earlier rejected the Kurdish offer for a freeze and demanded the annulment of the September 24 vote for independence.

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