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Barzani gives Baghdad ultimatum: Provide alternative in 3 days or vote proceeds

By Rudaw 19/9/2017
Kurdish Resident Masoud Barzani addresses a rally for independence of Kurdistan in Soran on September 19, 2017. Photo: Rudaw TV
Kurdish Resident Masoud Barzani addresses a rally for independence of Kurdistan in Soran on September 19, 2017. Photo: Rudaw TV
SORAN,  Kurdistan Region – Kurdistan President Masoud Barzani gave Baghdad three days to reach an agreement with Erbil, backed by the international community, providing an alternative to the referendum that will eventually lead to “independence.”

Speaking at a rally for independence in Soran on Tuesday, Barzani said their problem is not with the international community, which has offered to mediate between the regional and central governments, but “We have to reach an agreement with Baghdad.”

What can take the place of the referendum is “a bilateral agreement between Erbil and Baghdad, if the agreement materialized in a way that could take the place of the referendum. And then the international community, the US, Europe, backs that agreement and give guarantees that this agreement will be implemented,” said Barzani.
“But I will be honest with you, Baghdad has not reached that level yet,” he added, giving the central government a deadline of “two to three days” to reach such an agreement.
If no viable alternative is offered, “it is impossible to postpone the referendum,” Barzani said.
He stressed that the purpose of the September 25 referendum “is to tell the world that we want independence.” So any alternative must achieve the same objective.
He said that if Baghdad agrees to provide an alternative, then the people of Kurdistan will “hold a celebration on September 25.”

The Iraqi Supreme Court issued a ruling on Monday to suspend the referendum at the request of the Iraqi prime minister who asked the court to rule as “unconstitutional” the separation of “any region or province.”
Barzani said the Iraqi constitution, in its preface, stipulates that full commitment to the constitution preserves “free union.” Since Baghdad has failed in this point, the constitution gives Erbil the right to hold the vote, Barzani argued.
He said the reason behind increased global and regional calls to postpone the vote is because everyone thought at the beginning that the Kurdistan Region was using the vote simply as a “pressure card” against Baghdad. He said that thanks to the referendum, the issue is now “top of the agenda” for the international community.

The international community has presented offers to persuade Erbil to postpone the vote, Barzani said. But Kurdistan’s problem is with Baghdad and it is Baghdad that must commit to an agreement, not the international community, he stressed.
Falah Mustafa, the head of the government’s Department for Foreign Affairs, told Rudaw Monday that Turkey, France, and the UN are working on a joint alternative in order to convince the Kurdistan Region to postpone the vote. He stressed that they had not yet received a convincing alternative.
Addressing thousands at the rally, most waving Kurdistan flags, Barzani called on referendum supporters to raise only the flag of Kurdistan and not those of individual political parties, including his own ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).



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yassir Al-Fekaiki | 19/9/2017
Tîroj | 19/9/2017
We are with you Mr Barzanî! Yes to referendum! From north to south, from west to east; Kurdistan is one!
Hama | 19/9/2017
I've never understood why some kurds look up to the west when it is in fact that west that have caused all of our suffering. The west drew the disasterious maps of the middle east without any care for the different ethnicities and religious groups. Tens of millions have died since because of thiis map drawn by the west and almost every war in the middle east would've been avoided if it hadn't been for that map. Kurds are among the victims of this map. All the genocides and massacres against would not have taken place if it weren't for that map that was drawn by the west. Noone can seriously argue that the map is good. Yet to this day the west continues to insist on preservering the disasterious status quo. The west wants people in the middle east and among them kurds, to suffer and die and kill eahh other while the west is developing and progressing. The most arrogant thing I've heard in this referendum situation is how some western countries claim it should be "postponed" to avoid harming the campaign against ISIS. We don't give a shit about ISIS. They are already DEFEATED and even if they weren't we STILL don't give a shit. The war between ISIS and the west is not our problem just as the west does not care about the century old war between kurds and its neighbours. Western countries expect kurds to sideline our own interests and basic rights to self-determination and work for them instead. Well we're not slaves and don't give shit a bout ISIS anymore. They are dead and western countries can go fight the few that are left themselves instead of using kurds as puppets.
Muraz Adzhoev | 19/9/2017
Yes, any "alternative" proposed by Baghdad, guaranteed by the world community and agreed by Kurdistan Region must provide peaceful achievement of the main goal of the People's self-determination referendum, which is establishment and international recognition of the sovereign independence of reintegrated Southern Kurdistan in and within an appropriate short-term (not more than one year) transitional period. The People of Southern Kurdistan will anyway “hold a celebration on September 25.” due to or despite of an acceptable "alternative". This is the essence of the ultimatum given by the President-Commander on behalf of the People of Southern Kurdistan to Baghdad and the essence of the message to the world community and regional neighbors.
Sukhpal Singh | 19/9/2017
I'm agreed for independent. Kurdistan.

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