Iraqi Kurdish president calls for independence referendum

Written by  Published by:Shiite News
Published in Iraq
Wednesday, 03 February 2016

President of Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Masoud Barzani has called for a non-binding independence referendum.

"That referendum does not mean proclaiming statehood, but rather to know the will and opinion of the Kurdish people about independence and for the Kurdish political leadership to execute the will of the people at the appropriate time and conditions," said Barzani in a statement published on his website on Tuesday.

He added that “the situation is now suitable” for Kurds to decide about their fate.

"If the people of Kurdistan are waiting for someone else to present the right of self-determination as a gift, independence will never be obtained. That right exists and the people of Kurdistan must demand it and put it into motion," Barzani noted.

Over the past few years, Iraq’s Kurdish region has attempted to increase its semi-autonomy by constructing an independent oil pipeline to Turkey and conducting other oil exports. But the presence of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in Iraq and Syria and a global decline in oil prices have brought the region close to insolvency.

“Our region has witnessed too many disasters and change is on the way and the Kurds haven’t caused any of it. The Kurds have only been the victims while others have brought disasters and conflict to the region,” he said.

In the past, Barzani has made similar calls for a referendum without setting a specific timetable or date.

"The same way that Scotland, Catalonia and Quebec and other places have the right to express their opinions about their destiny, Kurdistan too has the right, and it's non-negotiable,” he said.

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