Senior Kurdish official says independence referendum cannot be postponed

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Kurdish Peshmerga forces celebrate Newroz Day, a festival marking spring and the new year, in Kirkuk March 20, 2017. REUTERS/Ako Rasheed

ARA News

Hemin Hawrami, senior assistant to the president Masoud Barzani and a senior member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) said on Monday that the independence referendum of Iraqi Kurdistan planned for 25th September “cannot be postponed.”

“Those who ask for postponement of Kurdistan Referendum, must declare the reasons. No postponement,” Hawrami said on his personal Twitter account.

The head of the Counter Terrorism Group (CTG), Lahur Jangi Talabani, said the Kurdistan Parliament should be reactivated without preconditions before holding the referendum on the independence of Kurdistan.

“How can I believe independence will be announced while the return and non-return of parliament’s speaker have created a problem,” Talabani said as he spoke to Peshmerga forces of the 17th Brigade during a meeting last week.

Moreover, the Change Movement (Gorran) and Kurdistan Islamic Group (KIG) on 11 June released a statement calling for postponing the referendum.

“Referendum as a step towards independence, including Kurdistani [disputed] areas is a natural right of the people of Kurdistan,” read a joint statement from Gorran and KIU leadership following their meeting at Gorran headquarters in Sulaimani last week.

“The Kurdistan Region’s institutions, above all the Kurdistan Parliament, must be unconditionally  normalized to carry out their work without any obstacles,” the two parties said.

“The general election must be held on time and a referendum to be postponed for after the elections or both take place at one time,” they said.

However, Hawrami said this is not possible. “Despite attacks on our offices and killing of our cadres, KDP is always ready to sacrifice for the greater good of Kurdistan,” he referred to the burning of KDP offices in October 2015, which was one of the reasons which lead to the deactivation of the Kurdistan Region’s parliament.

“On 16/7 KDP has officially reached out to Goran for direct unconditional talks. We all must do sacrifices for unity and Kurdistan Referendum,” he said.

“For the success of the Kurdistan Referendum, KDP is ready to unconditionally reactivate of Parliament. We have reached out directly to Goran,” he added.

The Kurdish parliament has remained deactivated after it shut down in October 2015 after relations between Gorran and the KDP worsened, after they failed to reach an agreement on the post of the presidency of Barzani.

Following violent protests against the KDP, Gorran ministers were sacked, and parliament speaker Yousif Mohammed was removed from his post and not allowed to enter Erbil by KDP forces.

Until now, disagreements between the Kurdish parties continue, and despite of a planned independence referendum, the Kurdish parties have failed to reactivate the parliament and reach an agreement before the referendum.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News

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