By John Lee.
Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani (pictured) has said he wants to reach an amicable agreement with Baghdad, but stressed that Kurds will "not accept to be subordinates".
In his address on the occasion of Newroz, the Kurdish New Year, the President said:
“We have two options before us: either we forget the struggles and sacrifices of our people in the last hundred years, or the current situation and the mature of our relationship with Baghdad must change.
"We will not accept to be subordinates to Baghdad, and Baghdad does not accept our partnership. Independence for Kurdistan is a peaceful call and is not a threat to anyone. We want to reach an amicable agreement with Baghdad on this question through mutual understanding.
"Before holding the referendum, the Kurdistan Region will engage in a serious and frank dialogue with Baghdad on our disputes and relationship.”