Coalition envoy says US opposed to Kurdish independence referendum

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Erbil old city centre, Iraqi Kurdistan. Representational file photo

ARA News

Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, Brett McGurk, has said that the opposition of the US against the Iraqi Kurdistan’s independence referendum planned for 25th September “is clear”.

“On the referendum, I think we’ve made our opposition to holding this referendum on September 25th quite clear. And we’ve called on the Kurdistan Regional Government to reconsider the decision,” McGurk said.

“And we urge on the pursuit of dialogue with the Central Government on the basis of the Iraqi constitution. All eyes right now must remain fixed on the enemy of Daesh, which is not defeated. And Hawija alone will be a very complicated campaign. And so anything that would distract against completing this mission is something that we will not support. And I think we’ve made that quite clear,” he told in a press conference.

Moreover, he congratulated the Kurdish Peshmerga forces and Iraqi security forces for liberating Mosul from ISIS extremists.

“I want to congratulate the Iraqi Security Forces, the Kurdish Peshmerga, all the people of Mosul who participated in this campaign. While it has not finished, they have come a remarkably long way. As soon as the Iraqi Security Forces finish the campaign, of course the Government of Iraq will have more to say on that, we will echo exactly what they say,” he concluded.

Aziz Ahmad, an assistant to the chancellor of the Kurdistan Region Security Council, in an op-ed for the New York Times said that for the Kurds, the partnership with Iraqi forces makes a long-overdue political reckoning necessary and urgent.

“This is why Iraqi Kurdistan will take the important step of holding a referendum on independence on Sept. 25. We believe this vote will give us a mandate to pursue a negotiated settlement with Mr. Abadi — and political recognition from his government is paramount,” he wrote.

“In December 2016, I was part of a high-level Kurdish delegation that visited the White House to discuss our national aspirations. During a passionate exchange, we were asked to delay our dream of statehood for the sake of Iraq’s war against the Islamic State. We have heard this argument before, many times,” he wrote.

“In 2003, we agreed to American requests to give the state of Iraq a chance. Since then, Baghdad’s failure to keep its promises of genuine partnership together with greater autonomy has hardened our resolve. We reject the premise that our independence would destabilize the country. The state of Iraq is prone to instability; the crises that threaten to tear it apart at the seams will not end with the Islamic State’s defeat,” he concluded.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News

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