The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) met on Sunday with Masoud Barzani, the long-time president of the Kurdish autonomous region, to discuss the practicalities of the independence referendum.
In a joint statement quoted by Rudaw news outlet, Kurdish leaders declared that the vote was "a natural right of the nation of Kurdistan to decide on its political and administrative path in a referendum and an entity of an independent state."
A joint committee will now be set up to discuss the issue with the other parties of Iraqi Kurdistan as well as "to set the timing and mechanism to hold a referendum," the statement said.
A spokesperson for the KDP, Mahmud Mohamad, told Rudaw that it had already been agreed that the referendum would be held in 2017. Kurdish parties will start talks with Baghdad and neighboring countries on the issue, he added.