NEW YORK - The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday urged “enhanced dialogue” between Erbil and Baghdad amid recent developments as the Kurdistan Region is going to vote for independence in a referendum on September 25 and said he understands the concerns of the Kurds.
In response to a question asked by Rudaw’s Majeed Gly in New York on the exercise of the self-determination right by the Kurdistan Region, Guterres answered: “our advice at the present moment is for an enhanced dialogue, mainly between Erbil and Baghdad, to come to an understanding on the near future.”
“I’ve relations with many of the Kurdish leaders. I understand their concerns. But my appeal is at the present moment for dialogue between Erbil and Baghdad to make sure that we are able to stabilize a situation that is still extremely fragile,” he added.
“I have a lot of personal sympathy,” for the Kurds, he said.
He went on to say “I would hope that unilateral decisions from one side or another would not undermine the belief I have that this is a very sensitive moment in Iraq and that we need to do everything possible to the benefit of the Iraqi people in its entirety, including, of course, the Kurdish population.”
He added at the moment “Iraq is facing an extremely decisive moment in its history.”
He, therefore, urged “the need for an effective reconciliation of the different communities in Iraq.”
The Kurdistan Region will hold an independence referendum on September 25, despite mounting regional and international pressure to postpone or cancel the vote.
Iraq considers the referendum unilateral and unconstitutional. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has said they will not engage with the outcome of the vote.
Al-Abadi in his latest weekly press conference on Tuesday, once again called the Region’s referendum “unconstitutional” and therefore urged “dialogue, dialogue, dialogue.”