The Iraqi Prime Minister Hider al-Abadi said in his weekly press conference that the referendum cannot be held in Kirkuk, as the Islamic State terrorist group still occupy areas in the province and as thousands of civilians from the province are displaced. Al-Abadi called for dialogue and cooperation in order to resolve the disputed area issue. Adding that “Baghdad stands on an equal distance from all components of Kirkuk as part and parcel of the country”. Earlier this month, the provincial council of Kirkuk voted for a referendum on the province’s secession from Iraq and joining Kurdistan Region, the vote came after the council decided to raise Kurdistan flag in Kirkuk and its governmental buildings. Joint delegation from the two leading Kurdish parties of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and Kurdistan Democratic Party had visited the capital Baghdad to discuss holding a referendum as well for addressing the disputed areas issue.