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FILE PHOTO:Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi delivers remarks at the morning ministerial plenary for the Global Coalition working to Defeat ISIS at the State Department in Washington, U.S., March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo

(reuters_tickers)

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi asked the Iraqi parliament on Thursday to hold a vote on removing the governor of Kirkuk from office, the parliamentary speaker's office said.

Abadi's call came after Kirkuk - an oil-rich province claimed by both the central government in Baghdad and the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq - decided to take part in a referendum set for Sept. 25 on Kurdish independence.

Baghdad and Iraq's neighbours are opposed to the referendum and earlier this week the Iraqi parliament authorised Abadi to "take all measures" to preserve national unity.

(Reporting by Ahmed Rasheed; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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Reuters