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Rudaw

Kurdistan

Referendum can be postponed only with guarantees on independence: Barzani

By Rudaw 18/9/2017
President Masoud Barzani welcomes British Secretary of State for Defence Michael Fallon on Monday. Photo: KRP
President Masoud Barzani welcomes British Secretary of State for Defence Michael Fallon on Monday. Photo: KRP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Amid numerous calls to postpone next week’s independence referendum and focus on discussions with Baghdad, President Masoud Barzani told a visiting British minister that they will not postpone the referendum without commitment from Baghdad to begin independence negotiations, with international guarantees that agreements will be enforced.

British Secretary of State for Defence Michael Fallon called on Barzani to delay the September 25 independence referendum and focus on dialogue with the central government “under the supervision of the international community,” read a Kurdish-language statement from the presidency’s office. 

Fallon visited Kurdistan on Monday with UK Ambassador to Iraq Frank Baker and met with Barzani, Vice President Kosrat Rasul, and acting Peshmerga Minister Karim Sinjari. 

Responding to Fallon’s request, Barzani said that referendum and dialogue are both tools for independence and that, since no alternative had been presented that could guarantee independence talks and Baghdad’s readiness to commence such talks, the referendum cannot be delayed. 
 
“[T]he referendum will not be delayed only for the sake of holding talks with Baghdad without knowing the content of these talks or knowing what international guarantees they will have,” the Kurdish statement read.

He added, however, that if Baghdad “expresses its readiness to hold talks on Kurdistan’s independence for a specific period of time and if there are international guarantees for the enforcement of an agreement on Kurdistan’s independence” then Kurdistan’s political leadership would meet and make a final decision. 

After the referendum, the Kurdistan Region will “happily negotiate with Baghdad” he said, according to an English-language statement from the presidency’s office. 

Fallon was in Baghdad earlier in the day, meeting with Iraqi officials. In a press conference afterwards, he called the Kurdistan referendum “a mistake” and said the UK is “committed to the integrity of Iraq,” AFP reported. 

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duroi | 18/9/2017
It is "a mistake" to go public after these mediation efforts and say the referendum is a mistake. This is 101 of mediation that you do not take sides with any party in negotiation and help them bridge their gap themselves. UK has shoot itself in the foot by these political stances and I suspect that it is dragging US into taking sides to strengthen its deep rooted colonial links with Baghdad and Shiite Mullahs at the expense of Kurds. Opposing the self determination rights of Kurds is not in the long term interest of UK or any other western country.
Guest | 18/9/2017
Iraq separated itself from Kurdistan and the Sunni population long ago.
Kurdish State | 19/9/2017
Territorial integrity of Iraq means denial of Kurds and Kurdistan.Those who make such statenents are not welcom to Kurdistan.
Freedom2917 | 19/9/2017
WE WILL NOT BACK DOWN . WE WILL MOVE FORWARD AS PLANNED . WE WILL VOTE FOR REFERENDUM AND THEN OPEN DOORS FOR NEGOTIATION AND THE NEGOTIATION MUST BE WITH GUARANTEES OTHERWISE DON'T GET IN OUR WAY OF FREEDOM.
GrinOlsson | 19/9/2017
Kurdistan should be very careful with respect to their ambitions and this referendum. Although I agree that it is time for Kurdistan to stand as a nation among nations, it may not have the military power to do so as well as offset its neighbors. Why? Kurdistan is based upon a secular Islamic form of government. Turkey on the other hand is leaning strongly towards the Sunni ideology and back-stepping from secularism. Iran is Shiite and so too is the new Iraqi government. And, an unknown factor is Syria and its Kurdish factions. It would be great for a free Kurdistan to open its doors to all Kurds who can live in one nation with one heritage. But, Kurdistan has no air force to defend its troops. And, if you look at Syria, Turkey, Iran and Iraq - they have one crucial battle field advantage - AIR FORCES. without THIS MAJOR ITEM, a free Kurdistan will be defeated. Beware my friends = and if you proceed to nationhood, make sure you have the air power of the USA or the Russian Federation behind you.

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