President Masoud Barzani [L]sits next to Iraqi President Fuad Masum at the funeral of the former Iraqi President Jalal Talabani on October 6, 2017 in Sulaimani. Photo: AFP/Shwan Mohammed
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The Kurdish President has told the visiting Iraqi parliament speaker Salim al-Jabouri that no one should think about cancelling the results of the Kurdish referendum because it is the verdict of the people of Kurdistan, according to a senior assistant to President Barzani.
President Barzani expressed that the Kurdistan Region is ready for a broad-based dialogue with an open agenda in a defined time frame with Baghdad, Hemin Hawrami stated in a Facebook post in Kurdish on Sunday, adding that “we want to reach an agreement on post referendum stage through dialogue and patience,” with Baghdad.
“President Barzani clearly told Salim al-Jabouri...no one should think about cancelling the results of the referendum because it is the verdict of the people, and no person or party can take that decision,” to cancel the vote, Hawrami continued.
The Kurdish Presidency and the office of the parliament speaker both separately published statements
following the meeting, none of which mentioned whether or not the Kurdistan Region is ready to discuss cancelling the vote. Hawrami’s post on Twitter of the meeting that was published in English did not mention this detail, either.
Jabouri’s office however stated that President Barzani had his own view on the referendum and the path forward, which the parliament speaker said must be discussed with the Iraqi government, parliament, and parties to come up with a vision that best serves the interests of Iraq and heals the country’s problems.
The Iraqi government and parliament has called on the Kurdish government to first cancel the outcome of the vote before any talks can be held within the framework of the Iraqi constitution.
Deputy speaker of the Iraqi parliament Hamam Hamoudi also slammed Jabouri’s visit to Erbil on Sunday while describing the meeting as “personal” that lacked the full backing of the parliament presidency.
Nouri al-Maliki, the head of the ruling Shiite State of Law Coalition and also one of the three Vice Presidents of Iraq, told the United States Ambassador to Iraq Douglas Silliman on Sunday in Baghdad that there should be no talks without first cancelling the outcome of the vote that saw 92 percent of the people of Kurdistan voting to leave Iraq.
“His Excellency [Maliki]...reaffirmed his support for unconditional dialogue but after cancelling the referendum because dialogue has no value if the referendum remained” in place, a statement from Maliki’s office read.
US Ambassador to Iraq Douglas Silliman [L] meets with the Iraqi Vice President Nouri al-Maliki [R] in Baghdad on October 8, 2017. Photo: Maliki's media office
Maliki continues to say that the calls for dialogue and de-escalation at the expense of violating the Iraqi constitution and the territories of other components not only will not solve the problems, but further complicates it, and “therefore everything that is illegitimate must be cancelled.”
The US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stated last month that they do not recognize the Kurdish vote while describing it as illegitimate.
“The vote and the results lack legitimacy and we continue to support a united, federal, democratic and prosperous Iraq,” Tillerson said on September 29.
He called for calm and for Baghdad to “reject threats or even allusion to possible use of force,” while urging Kurdish leaders to “respect the constitutionally-mandated role of the central government.”
The Kurdistan Region defied Iraq, its neighbours Turkey and Iran, as well the international community when it went ahead with the vote. Turkey and Iran who each have a significant Kurdish population in particular have said they, together with Iraq, will take coordinated measures against Erbil in response to the referendum that they see as a threat to regional stability.
The Iraqi government and parliament passed a number of punitive measures that mainly affect the Kurdish land and air entry points in response to the vote that Baghdad calls “unconstitutional.” The Kurdish government has called such measures “collective punishment.”
Kurdish leaders, including President Barzani, made it crystal clear before the vote that the referendum is a means to an eventual objective, independence.
President Barzani while addressing the people of Kurdistan following the vote stated that they will pursue the path of dialogue with Baghdad in order to reach a new arrangement that stipulates the two nations will live as “two good neighbours.”
He said the September 25 vote was not to define borders or to impose a de facto.