Barzani: We are ready for dialogue, but after Kurdish referendum

  • Barzani: We are ready for dialogue, but after Kurdish referendum

Barzani: We are ready for dialogue, but after Kurdish referendum

Massoud Barzani, President of the region of the Iraqi Kurdistan, has declared that in the absence of any counter-proposals from the global community, the referendum on independence, scheduled for Monday 25 September 2017, would definitely go ahead.

"The United States does not support the Kurdistan Regional Government's intention to hold a referendum later this month", the White House said, claiming that the vote would distract from the joint Kurdish-U.S. fight to defeat Islamic State and stabilize liberated areas in Iraq and Syria. That arrangement left 30 million Kurds scattered over Iran, Turkey, Syria and Iraq.

The military drill started on September 18 in the Silopi district of southeastern Sirnak province, just one week before an independent referendum held by Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) slated for September 25.

Saudi Arabia called upon the parties concerned to engage in dialogue in order to achieve the interests of the Iraqi people in all its components and to ensure security and peace in Iraq and preserve its unity and sovereignty, according to a statement issued by a source from Riyadh's government last week.

The independence referendum will take place on Monday, September 25. The Baghdad government secured a Supreme Court order to suspend voting and issued a parliamentary call to remove the Kurdish governor of Kirkuk province - one of four over which the KRG and central government are vying for control - over his support for the referendum.

President Masoud Barzani told a crowd on Friday in the capital Erbil that he is not a leader who could bring "shame" on himself by calling off the vote to please foreign capitals.

On Tuesday, Iraq's parliament voted to reject the referendum, but Kurdish officials don't accept the decision.

About everyone, including the United States and United Nations who fear a destabilization of Iraq while the war with Islamic State is not yet over. I think the pattern is the same.

The Turkish parliament convened at 4pm for a debate and vote on extending a mandate that authorizes Turkish troop deployments to Iraq and Syria, and Prime Minister Binali Yildirim alluded to possible military moves.

Iran, a powerful player in Iraq with close ties to the Shiite-led government in Baghdad and Iraqi Shiite militias, and often troubled relations with its own Kurdish population, also opposes the referendum.

The two men discussed the referendum and stressed the importance of maintaining Iraq's territorial integrity, the military said, referring to the vote as "illegitimate".

"If they start shooting at us, we will start shooting at them as well", he continues, showing how easily both sides could be triggered towards a violent scenario.