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Call for Kurdish independence vote

Iraq's top Kurdish leader has called on politicians in his northern region's parliament to take the necessary steps toward holding a referendum on independence.

Massoud Barzani told the region's legislature in a speech to set up an electoral commission to prepare for "a referendum on self-determination".

He said: "It is time to decide about our self-determination and not to wait for other people to decide about us."

The self-rule Kurdish region's militia, known as peshmerga, has seized territory in recent weeks amid the chaos of the Sunni insurgent blitz across northern and western Iraq.

The gains are helping fuel sentiment among Kurds to declare independence.

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