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Rudaw

Kurdistan

UK: Now is not right time for referendum, Baghdad first must authorize

By Rudaw 12/6/2017
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HALABJA, Kurdistan Region – A referendum on Kurdistan independence must be dealt with through the central government in Baghdad, argued the UK’s ambassador to Iraq, adding that his country does not support such a vote at this time.
 
Frank Baker said in a press conference on Monday during a visit to Halabja province that they have made their position very clear. “The government of the United Kingdom does not believe that now is the right time to hold the referendum for the Kurdish Region,” he said when asked about the UK’s position on holding the referendum scheduled for September 25. 
 
Baghdad must be on board for the vote to take place, he said, comparing it to a similar vote in 2014 when Scotland took to the polls to vote for or against independence from the UK.
 
“We believe that any referendum has to be agreed with Baghdad, just like we had our Scottish referendum. It was agreed in Westminster and a decision was taken in the British parliament, not Scottish parliament, and the wording of the referendum was decided in the British parliament, not in the Scottish parliament,” Baker said.
 
“We do not have a problem with holding a referendum at some stage. It has to be agreed with the government of Iraq in Baghdad.”
 
The UK’s House of Lords Select Committee on International Relations released a policy report in May which recommended that the UK should not support Kurdish attempts for independence in the Kurdistan Region.
 
At the same time, the report said the UK should not use its resources to keep countries in the Middle East, including Iraq, unitary and fully-functioning where that was not likely to happen.
 
Iraqi Kurds, the report said, are the most effective fighting force against ISIS and have been able to trade their military victories for more diplomatic recognition and financial support.
 
The Committee concludes that “we recognise that there is a balance to be drawn between engaging with sub-state actors, and avoiding the risk of undermining the central state. Nevertheless, the Iraqi Kurds are a valuable ally, and the UK should support the Kurdistan Regional Government financially and its Peshmerga forces with military capacity. The UK should not, however, support attempts by the Iraqi Kurds to seek independence.”
 
The report stopped short of opposing Kurdish independence.
 
The report also argues that “It is not a specifically UK interest that countries of the Middle East remain centralised, unitary states. The UK should not devote political will or resources to deliver the goal of unitary and fully-functioning states where this is unattainable, as could well prove to be the case in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen. Neither should the UK actively support this process of state unravelling. It should, however, be prepared to live with de facto arrangements and de facto sub-state entities.”
 
It adds that a UK policy priority should be to build local ties and seek the broadest range of relationships with a range of sub-state actors.
 
Baghdad has said that it does not agree with a “unilateral” referendum held by the Kurdistan Region. The central government’s position is that that the entire nation should have their say over the future of Iraq and the Iraqi constitution should regulate the relationship between itself and the Kurdish government.
 
“All Iraqis must have their say over the future of their homeland. No party can determine its fate independent of others,” Saad al-Hadithi, the spokesperson of the Iraqi prime minister was quoted as saying by Iraqi state media last week.

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A concern Kurd | 12/6/2017
Dead UK, autorized the referendum on Scotland? Dead al UK vote on the subject or was only Scottish people? Quebec hold a ref random and only people in Quebec voted in Canada not all Canadian. How about they mind their own business?
Masque du Furet | 12/6/2017
Is there a right time for any referendum in the "U" K?
ehh | 12/6/2017
Translation, we r not ready to pay the political cost for the consequences. Best to go ahead and do it and then they will come on board when faced with reality.
kurdish natinalist | 12/6/2017
Clown countries like the UK and their joke goverment will shut up and look after their border do not terorrister Pakstanier and other terorrisr radical Islamic groups attack clown countries like the UK and cry like women, do not talk that Kurdistan Region should not introduce a referendum the Kurds problem history is banned On clown countries as the UK destroyed the Kurds.
Muraz Adzhoev | 12/6/2017
The People and the sovereign authorities of Kurdistan region have to hold the referendum, officially proclaim independence of Southern Kurdistan from deadly failed Iraqi federation in order to put the UN member-states before the fait accompli and to make them all think properly in accordance with realities, norms and principles of the international law in particular. Nothing and no countries can prevent the self-determination of the People and independence of Southern Kurdistan.
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