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US proposed Kurds hold referendum vote after Iraqi elections, says Fuad Hussein

By Rudaw 16/6/2017
Dr. Fuad Hussein, chief of staff to the Kurdistan Presidency. Photo: Rudaw
Dr. Fuad Hussein, chief of staff to the Kurdistan Presidency. Photo: Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The US suggested Kurdistan Region delay its planned referendum on independence until after Iraqi elections, due to be held in March, a proposal rejected by Kurdish leaders who do not want their historic vote tied to an uncertain Iraqi process. 

“We didn't agree with this because it’s unclear whether or not Iraqi elections are going to be held. They are set to be held, but it’s not clear yet,” said Dr. Fuad Hussein, chief of staff to the Kurdistan Presidency, in an interview with Rudaw’s Hiwa Jamal. 

Hussein noted that there are problems with the election law in Iraq and a debate is ongoing as to whether or not elections should be held on time. Thousands of protesters have taken to Baghdad’s streets demanding electoral reform and the dissolution of Iraq’s electoral body. 

According to Hussein, the Americans’ concern is that the Kurdistan referendum could affect the result of the Iraqi elections. 

“But we don’t see it this way. This is the decision of the nation of Kurdistan. And now the timing is set. The decision is made.”

The discussions between Kurdish and US officials took place in Washington last month when Hussein and Masrour Barzani, Chancellor of the Kurdistan Region’s Security Council, met with several White House officials.  

The US appreciates the “legitimate aspirations” of Kurds, but it supports Iraqi unity, US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert told reporters after the Kurdistan Region announced the vote will be held on September 25.

Western allies in the war against ISIS have expressed concern that a Kurdistan referendum could detract from efforts to defeat the extremist group. 
According to Hussein, US officials have said they would not oppose a referendum “if there is negotiation with Baghdad. Negotiations with Baghdad should start. And they don’t have a problem with it if we reach a result with Baghdad.”

Following Hussein’s and Barzani’s visit to the US capital, former Iraqi Ambassador Lukman Faili asserted that American officials had told the Kurdish delegation that they are against the referendum and independence. 

Hussein denied this, saying that Faili cannot speak on behalf of the Americans. 

“The truth was spoken by the US State Department’s spokesperson. They have a problem with the timing of it. But they didn't reject the referendum. I don’t believe any democratic country can reject a referendum, which is a democratic mechanism. But they didn't support the timing of it. They said this to us when we were there and declared this themselves too.”


A Concern Kurd | 16/6/2017
I guess Iraq should hold the election before September 25
Muraz Adzhoev | 16/6/2017
This is a provocative proposal aimed to the long anticipated and upcoming self-determination referendum on reintegration and independence of Southern Kurdistan from deadly failed Iraq not to be held and successfully conducted. Kurdistan's participation in Iraqi elections is absolutely unacceptable and wrong in terms of the rights, the political will and national interests of the People of Southern Kurdistan. Kurdistan has nothing do with the Iraqi elections. Kurdistan will have its own sovereign elections after the referendum, that is soon after the official declaration of independence from Iraq. It necessary and urgent to make the US respect the justified national will of the People of Kurdistan by means of official words and deeds.
PLINY THE KURD | 16/6/2017
President Trump is a man of courage and has a sound heart for his Kurdish friends.He will not fail them, as they stick to common values they share with the Westaern civilization. America has confidence in the Kurds and the Kurds can trust America.History is in the making in Kurdistan, as a fresh and fragrant air is entering the White House. May God bless the American-Kurdish alliance.
Muraz Adzhoev | 16/6/2017
Timing of the referendum on independence of Southern Kurdistan from failed Iraq is not a problem at all. The real problem for the US in fact is the lack of decisiveness in direct political, diplomatic and military support of its true and the most reliable partner - Kurdistan. The referendum and declaration of independence of Kurdistan will make and let the US be more responsible, creative and positive in terms of norms and principles of the international law and in favor of peace, security and stability in the Middle East Region.

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