July 27, 2016
President Barzani (C). File photo
QAMISHLI – The President of Iraqi Kurdistan Masoud Barzani has criticized the Iraqi foreign ministry and the US for tolerating the Iraqi government behavior in creating obstacles for the Kurds to prevent them from participating in important coalition meetings in Washington.
As a result of lobbying work of the Kurds and pressure, finally the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) representative was added to the Iraqi delegation to Washington at the last moment.
The KRG’s foreign relations head Falah Mustafa previously told ARA News that the Kurds need proper representation in anti-ISIS meetings –that took place last week on 20 and 21 July– since Kurds play a crucial role in the fight against ISIS and giving humanitarian support to displaced people from Mosul.
“The Peshmerga forces with their bravery and sacrifices have drastically weakened the terrorists and have proven once again that they are an essential anti-terror force in the region,” President Barzani said.
“In spite of this very obvious fact, the Iraqi Minister of Foreign Affairs recently created obstacles for a Kurdish representative to be present in the last anti-Islamic State summit in Washington,” he added.
The Kurdish president also blamed the United States as a host of the summit. “Unfortunately the hosts of that summit went along with the Iraqi Foreign Minister. This is a mere one example of many where the people of the Kurdistan Region and their aspirations are deliberately neglected in accordance to the personal mood of certain individuals,” he said.
“This type of treatment cannot be accepted and we are indeed in need of our own sovereignty where we are able to determine our fate,” the Kurdish president said, indicating that the KRG might hold a referendum on Kurdish independence before the US presidential elections.
Therefore, the Kurdish president concluded that the Kurds in Iraq have only two choices: accepting the status quo, or move towards independence. “With the aid of His Almighty and the will of the people of the Kurdistan Region, it will become clear to us in the near future as to who would rather trail behind, obeying the orders of others and who would choose sovereignty,” the president concluded.
According to Ceng Sagnic, a researcher with the Tel Aviv-based Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, the statement of the KRG president is not related to the conference in Washington, but to the fact that rival Kurdish parties do not back the referendum.
“I don’t think it’s related to the conference in DC, but more about Kurdish domestic politics. Barzani’s initiative to hold a referendum on independence is not supported by PUK [Patriotic Union of Kurdistan] and Goran and this statement seems to be a signal of unilateral action by KDP to hold the referendum,” Sagnic told ARA News.
“Also the KRG High Elections Committee released a statement today which was not a coincidence that they are ready to hold the referendum in four months and that there are no obstacles to hold the referendum in the disputed territories,” he added.