Kurdistan independence vote could be 'potentially destabilising', warns UN Security Council

Aaron Brown
September 24, 2017

Amid mounting pressure, Iraqi Kurdish President Masoud Barzani cited his willingness earlier this week to postpone the vote if an agreement on Kurdistan's "independence" could be reached with Bagdad.

The UN Security Council has unanimously issued a statement condemning the upcoming referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan, planned for Monday. "You can't call off a referendum in exchange for negotiations where one side has said the only solution is going to be on their terms and not what you want".

"It's impossible to think that the leadership would then cancel the referendum", Galbraith, a former US ambassador to Croatia, told VOA Kurdish by phone from Irbil, the capital of the Kurdish region.

"We have discussed all options in event that a referendum takes place and that it doesn't. We demand a total cancellation, so that we won't have to impose sanctions", he said.

They also categorically rejected and opposed the referendum and stressed the need to urge the Kurdish leadership to cancel it.

The turkologist reminded that irrespective of the referendum outcome and global recognition of the vote results, the Iraqi Kurdistan positions itself as a self-sustainable country with authorities, army and special services. Barzani has overstayed his presidential term since it ended in 2015, at which time parliament was suspended, and has been accused of corruption and oppressing opponents.

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Barzani took advantage of the rally to push for a yes-vote for independence. Baghdad and the KRG have tussled over control of these areas - in particular, oil-rich, ethnically-mixed Kirkuk - since the fall of Saddam Hussein, under whom Kurdish and Turkmen residents were displaced in favor of Arabs.

Soleimani has told Kurdish officials that "Iran is pressuring Baghdad so it accepts Kurdish demands and solves the issues of the budget, peshmerga salaries and disputed areas".

It also fears the impact the vote could have on the war against the Islamic State group, despite Baghdad and Erbil forces all but defeating the force in Iraq.

Despite tensions over the referendum, Iraqi forces on Friday recaptured IS-held Sharqat on their drive to retake the nearby northern town of Hawija back from the jihadists.

"After the constitution of Iraq was drafted, we accepted it, but Baghdad did not comply with it. Article 140 of the constitution was not implemented", he said. Baghdad isn't alone in discouraging the Kurds from holding elections.

All other parties, including the main opposition Republican People's Party, voted for it.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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