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Kurds celebrate to show their support for the upcoming Sept. 25 independence referendum in Erbil, Iraq

Kurd Leader Barzani, Iraqi Speaker Meet

BAGHDAD —Iraqi parliament speaker Salim al-Jabouri has met with Kurdish president Masoud Barzani, two weeks after Kurds in Iraq voted in a symbolic referendum for independence, Kurdish media reported.

Citing a statement from Barzani's office, Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) affiliated Rudaw network reported the two leaders spoke Sunday of the need to protect security and stability, avoiding further tension between the two governments.

The September 24 referendum for Kurdish Independence from Iraq, deemed illegal by Baghdad, passed with an approval nearing 93 percent, and a voter turnout of 72 percent.

But Baghdad continues to extend threats against the Kurdish Regional Government, and many people say even if threats are not carried out, they have already raised tensions, which could spiral into ethnic conflict.

The meeting between the two leaders also comes less than a week after the death of former Iraqi president and Iraqi Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani, who spent his political career attempting to bridge divides between feuding factions in Iraq, as well as pushing for Kurdish independence.

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