Iraqi Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani on Tuesday claimed that majority of Kurds had voted in favour of independence in a referendum held on September 25, Reuters reported. The final results are expected to be out later on Wednesday.

In a televised address, Barzani said the yes vote had won, and called on the Iraq government to engage in serious dialogue with the Kurds instead of threatening the Kurdish regional government with sanctions. “We may face hardship but we will overcome,” Barzani said.

He also demanded that world powers “respect the will of millions of people” who voted in the referendum. The Iraqi government considers the referendum unconstitutional, and it has also been opposed by Turkey, the United States and many European countries.

The Kurdish channel, Rudaw TV, claimed on Tuesday that over 91% of voters had chosen the yes option. It had triggered celebrations in Erbil, capital of the Kurdish region.