Hoshyar Zebari, a senior Kurdish politician speaks on Rudaw TV in April 2017.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — A senior politician in the Kurdistan Region has said that "no democratic country can oppose having a referendum," that the referendum on independence will happen in areas outside of the Kurdistan Regional Government's administration if local elected councils want to join.
"We crossed the Rubicon with that decision, there is no going back," Reuters reported Hoshyar Zebari, a senior member of the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) as saying in a telephone interview reported on Friday.
Zebari is also a senior advisor to Kurdish President Masoud Barzani and member of the joint KDP-PUK (Patriotic Union of Kurdistan) committee that was formed in April. Its purpose has been to begin preparing for the referendum on Kurdistan independence.
"A referendum is a democratic process, no democratic country can oppose having a referendum; we are not talking about independence, we are talking about the referendum," he told Reuters.
Zebari was also the longest serving Iraqi foreign minister since the fall of the former Iraqi regime 14 years ago.
"You will hear people saying we are for Iraq’s unity, territorial integrity, we want dialogue between Baghdad and Erbil, we understand all this," he added.
Other countries including the Kurdistan Region's neighbors, namely Iraq, Turkey and Iran, have in varying tones urged continued unity between Baghdad and Erbil.
President Barzani held a meeting with political parties in the Kurdistan Region on Wednesday, when it was announced the Kurdistan Region would hold a referendum on September 25 that would include "the Kurdistani areas outside the region's administration" to be followed by parliamentary and presidential elections on November 6.
Reuters reported Zebari said the vote will only be held in these disputed territories if local elected councils want to join the process.