US President Donald Trump and Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey rejected a plan by Iraqi Kurds to hold an independence vote and called for “intense” talks, the White House has said.

“The two leaders reaffirmed their rejection of the planned Kurdistan Regional Government’s referendum on September 25th, and the serious consequences that would follow if it occurs,” the press release read.

“They called on Kurdish leaders to accept the process of intense negotiations on all outstanding issues which the United States and Turkey are prepared to endorse and support,” it added.

Iraqi Kurdistan leader Masoud Barzani called the vote in June. It has drawn sharp international criticism, with the UN Security Council warning that the security of three million refugees and internally displaced people would be at risk if the vote were to take place before the Islamists were defeated.

Earlier, Kifah Sinjari, the media adviser to the president of Iraqi Kurdistan, told Sputnik that the Iraqi Kurdistan authorities are ready to postpone the independence vote if the region receives certain political guarantees from Baghdad, Washington and the United Nations.

The presidential adviser noted that Iraqi Kurdistan has been a good neighbor to Iran and Turkey, and hopes that the two countries will it treat with the same neigborly and respectful way after the independence referendum.

Iraqi Kurdistan is an autonomous region in the north of Iraq. The Kurds, who make up about 20 percent of the Iraqi population, have been seeking self-governance for decades. In 2005, Iraq’s Constitution recognized Kurdistan as an autonomous region run by the Kurdistan Regional Government.

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