Kurdish opponents of Barzani report attacks on offices

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In a statement, Boris Johnson, the UK Secretary of State, said he had spoken with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani and the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Sunday afternoon to urge dialogue and de-escalation of tensions between Erbil and Baghdad.

The losses were a major blow to the Kurds' aspirations for their own state and prompted Mr Barzani to declare on Sunday that he wanted his presidential powers to be distributed among the region's prime minister, parliament and judiciary.

The protesters broke into the assembly and attacked lawmakers and journalists until the police subdued them. A rival party's office and affiliated television station were also targeted by rioting.

The news agency noted that the PUK, which has been the main rival of Barzani's Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) for decades, supported his decision to hold the independence referendum, but half-heartedly. Within weeks, a backlash from the vote revealed Barzani had miscalculated. The KRG's global airspace has been closed and the Kurds have lost almost half of the territory they have controlled since the war against Isis began.

The region's airspace was closed to worldwide commercial flights, Turkey threatened the use of military force and both Tehran and Ankara threatened to close border crossings vital to the land-locked region.

Mr. Barzani, 71, said Sunday that he would give up his position as KRG president on November 1.

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A number of Barzani's supporters forced themselves into the parliament building as lawmakers met to approve the president's request.

"President Barzani is a historic figure and courageous leader of his people".

Mr Abadi insisted that the vote was unconstitutional and ordered pro-government forces to retake disputed areas held by Kurdish Peshmerga fighters since 2014, including the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, sparking clashes that left dozens dead.

Kurdish leaders had offered to suspend the referendum results and to start talks with the central government but Abadi rejected the offer.

"We call for adhering to the law and for calm", al-Abadi said from Baghdad, adding that the "political differences" on display in the Kurdish region should not negatively impact the Kurdish citizens of Iraq.

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