Hemin Hawrami speaks at the 72nd anniversary of his party in Sulaimani on August 16, 2018. Photo: Rudaw TV
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — A senior KDP official said on Thursday that Kurdish leadership refused an alternative US proposal to postpone independence referendum, based on the certain phrases.
“Our leadership was asked to postpone the referendum because if the Iraqi government did not accept discussions — with a good faith — then, if it was needed, the referendum could be held and its results respected,” Hemin Hawrami, head of the KDP list for September 30 parliamentary election, said during a party event in Sulaimani.
A draft proposal of the alternative was revealed weeks after the Kurdistan Region’s September 2017 independence referendum.
“This alternative proposal establishes a new and accelerated framework for negotiation with the central Government of Iraq led by Prime Minister Abadi. This accelerated framework for negotiation carries an open agenda and should last no longer than one year, with the possibility of renewal. Its objective is to resolve all issues outstanding between Baghdad and Erbil and the nature of the future relationship between the two,” read the draft by then US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
The draft, which was delivered to Kurdish authorities only two days before the referendum, added that if talks reached no conclusion, then the US would “recognize a need for a referendum.”
“At the end of this process, of course, should the talks not reach a mutually acceptable conclusion or fail on account of lack of good faith on the part of Baghdad we would recognize the need for a referendum,” it added.
Celebrating the 72th anniversary of KDP in Sulaimani, Hawrami also said that even if Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had embraced referendum with a “good faith, the parliament which is run by chauvinists would reject it.”
Hawrami further explained they asked the US to remove those phrases which do not grant Kurds a guarantee, adding that some people criticized the KDP for refusing the proposal offered by Washington.
Hawrami said that the US “did not change this draft, therefore it was rejected,” so no matter what decision took it would have been criticized by the opposition.
The Kurdistan Region held a referendum on independence on September 25, 2017. Ninety-three percent of ballots counted indicated ‘Yes’ to independence from Baghdad.
All major party leaders said they supported independence, but some questioned the timing. Following Baghdad's backlash such as closing airports, Kurdish officials agreed "to freeze" the results of the referendum, but have said they won't cancel it.
Prior to the referendum, Kurdish officials repeatedly said the vote did not mean they would declare independence the next day, week, month or even year.
Official campaigning for Kurdistan’s parliamentary election runs from September 5-28.