Iraq's parliament voted on Tuesday to stop a referendum in its Kurdish region and instructed Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to preserve the country's unity. "But regarding the referendum and the presented alternative, he said that 'it is not just my decision, and we will discuss this issue with the leadership of Kurdistan and will announce our stance in the near future", the Kurdish Presidential Office's statement was quoted as saying by Rudaw news agency. "That is the only body that can remove him".
The reports claim that the plan was hatched by Kurdistan Regional Government President Massoud Barzani, and come as Ankara ramps up its warning against a "yes" vote in the September 25 referendum.
Iraqi Kurdistan is an autonomous region in the north of Iraq.
"We would obviously very much encourage the political leaders here in the Kurdistan region to embrace this alternative path", McGurk said in a press conference in Iraqi Kurdistan's capital, Irbil.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu officially endorsed Kurdish statehood ahead of a controversial referendum held in the Kurdish region of Iraq in late September.
Meanwhile, Rashad Kalali, with the Committee for the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan in Erbil's Makhmur district, said the American troops have established a military base in southern Erbil, Iraq's al-Sumaria news website reported Wednesday.
Kurdish officials have said that an expected "yes" vote will not trigger an automatic declaration of independence, but rather strengthen their hand in lengthy negotiations on separation with the central government.
He noted that Belgium, Britain, France and Iraq had cooperatively developed an "alternative plan" to the referendum. Turkey has the largest proportion of ethnic Kurds, who make up around a quarter of its population of 80 million.
Iraqi lawmakers say it will consolidate Kurdish control over several disputed areas, including oil-rich Kirkuk.
Neighbors Turkey and Iran, as well as the U.S. and Iraq, have voiced their opposition to the Kurdistan Region's independence vote.