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Tillerson: US rejects Kurdistan independence referendum

By Rudaw 29/9/2017
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson addressing the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS in March. Photo: AP
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson addressing the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS in March. Photo: AP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The United States “does not recognize” Kurdistan’s independence referendum, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced in a statement Friday evening. 

“The vote and the results lack legitimacy and we continue to support a united, federal, democratic and prosperous Iraq,” read the statement. 

Tillerson said that aspirations of stability and prosperity in the Kurdistan Region “cannot be advanced through unilateral measures such as this referendum.”

He called for calm and for Baghdad to “reject threats or even allusion to possible use of force,” while urging Kurdish leaders to “respect the constitutionally-mandated role of the central government.”

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, at the request of the parliament, ordered the deployment of troops to disputed areas following the vote. 

Iraqi forces have also engaged in military exercises with Turkey near the Turkey-Kurdistan border and on Wednesday, Iraq’s army chief of staff visited Tehran to discuss enhancing military cooperation. 

Tillerson asked all parties “including Iraq’s neighbours, to reject unilateral actions and the use of force.”

The US’ official stance has been opposed to Kurdistan’s independence referendum since the beginning, arguing the vote will have a destabilizing effect and throwing its support behind a united Iraq. 

Individual American lawmakers have, however, recently expressed support for Kurdistan’s right to self-determination and sovereignty aspirations. 

On Wednesday, Senator Chuck Schumer, Senate minority leader, released a statement supporting an independent Kurdish state

On Monday evening, as people cast their ballots, US Congressman Trent Franks introduced legislation to support Kurdistan’s right of self-determination. 

Over 92 percent of voters supported separating from Iraq in Monday’s vote. 


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Roj | 29/9/2017
When Kurds vote it's illegitimate but when white people in America and Europe vote it's called democracy. Thank you very much Mr. Tillerson for proving us right that America does not promote democracy as it claims. But it promotes dictatorship as is common knowledge. I hope Kurdish leadership will ignore this oil thief turned politician and stand firm on behalf of people.
Vibe | 29/9/2017
Trump won election by 48% and it was legitimate. Kurds won referendum by 93% and according to Tillerson it's illegitimate! Why did he wait until Friday to clarify his position? did he wait to see what ayatollah Sistani had to say first?
Muraz Adzhoev | 29/9/2017
Is US Rex-Secretary of State Tillerson "the Supreme Judge of the World"? Let's wait for US Defens Department, Congress, Senate and President with no "rex-consoles" in their statements on the Kurdistan self-determination in full accordance with principles of the international law and civilized norms of humanitarian justice. Rex is getting out of mind, conscience and decency.
Hawraman | 29/9/2017
When oil prices were high and he was the CEO of Exxon/Mobil he supported Kurdish independence. it was profitable back then. Too bad Kurds miscalculated and went for referendum when oil prices are low. I don't understand which Iraq he's referring to. Iraq doesn't exist! It's a vessel province of Iran and it's Iran not US that has influence on Iraq.
Independence | 29/9/2017
Rex tillerson is a disgrace to democracy!

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