Kurdish president says partnership with Iraq is over

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IRBIL, Iraq – The president of Iraq's Kurdish region says the controversial vote on independence will go ahead as planned on Monday, despite mounting pressures from within the region and beyond.

Speaking at a press conference in Irbil Sunday, Masoud Barzani said that while the vote will be the first step in a long process to negotiate independence, the region's "partnership" with the Iraqi central government in Baghdad is over.

Baghdad, the United States and the United Nations have all voiced strong opposition to the vote set for Monday, warning it could further destabilize the region as Iraqi and Kurdish forces continue to battle the Islamic State group.

Earlier Sunday, Iran closed its airspace to flights taking off from Iraq's Kurdish region following a request from Baghdad.

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