The Rudaw news agency reported Friday that Iraqi Kurdistan parliament had finally approved the independence referendum that would be held on September 25.
Lawmaker Hussein al-Maliki said parliament voted to dismiss Kirkuk Gov. Najmiddin Karim based on consultations with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
Despite all the obstacles, Masoud Barzani, the President of the Kurdistan region in Iraq, is determined to hold a referendum on independence, an Armenian political analyst said on Friday.
"But we will hold our referendum without an alternative and whatever happens, happens", he emphasized. "The prime minister does not have the power to ask parliament to remove me".
While providing no details on the alternative, Brett McGurk, U.S. special presidential envoy to the anti-Islamic State coalition said at a news conference in Irbil he had presented it to Kurdish leaders. It is clear that the Iraqi authorities can maximally grant a broader autonomy to the Iraqi Kurds seeking independence.
Washington opposes the referendum on the grounds that it would weaken Arab-Kurdish joint military operations, which have helped send the IS group into retreat in both Iraq and war-torn Syria.
On June 7, Barzani announced his intention to hold a referendum on the independence of the Kurdish region from Iraq on September 25.
Iranian-backed Iraqi Shia paramilitary groups have threatened to dislodge the Kurdish forces from the oil-rich Kirkuk region, which is due to take part in the referendum.
Kurds have long claimed Kirkuk and its huge oil reserves. They say the vote could lead to conflicts with Baghdad and neighboring Turkey and Iran, which host sizeable Kurdish populations, and would cause attention to be diverted from the fight against the IS. Last spring, Kirkuk's governorate voted to raise the Kurdish flag over state buildings, despite Baghdad's insistence that only Iraq's national flag should fly in the multiethnic city.
"We've been waiting more than 100 years for this", Omed Khoshnaw, a lawmaker from the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDR) of KRG President Massoud Barzani, told Reuters.