The Kurdish President Masoud Barzani on Wednesday said that those who asked to postpone the referendum on Kurdistan’s independence “must show an alternative”, in response to a new movement against the referendum launched by NRT owner Shaswar Abdulwahid last Tuesday.
Barzani’s statement came during a meeting with hundreds of religious clerics in Iraqi Kurdistan’s capital Erbil.
“President Barzani in Erbil meeting with 1000 Kurdistan Muslim clerics. Referendum is not only for Kurds, for all other nations in Kurdistan,” Hemin Hawrami, the senior advisor to Barzani tweeted on Wednesday.
“It is an honor to have this meeting with Kurdistan Muslim clerics to explain the way forward. The Referendum is for independence,” Barzani said during the meeting.
The Kurdish president said that Kurdistan will be multi-ethnic, multi-religious. “We have a message of coexistence and fraternity. We are not building a Kurdish nation state, we build Kurdistan as a nation for non-Kurds as well, to be a homeland for all,” he said.
Moreover, he said the referendum cannot be postponed, despite of criticism from certain political parties in Slemani.
“Those who asked to postpone referendum must know if they don’t have stronger alternative, we can not postpone and will not,” Barzani said.
The Kurdish President also criticized Western countries that suggest the referendum planned for 25th September is ill-timed. “Those countries who say the referendum is ill timed, what is their suggestion for a good time? What is alternative?” Barzani said.
Het also responded to Iraqi government claims that the referendum is unconstitutional.
“We have stated many times if Iraq continues in violating constitution, not accepting consensus, we will not be part of Iraq. We contributed a lot to make Iraq a functioning federal state. In 2004 Kurds were 40% of Iraqi Army, now it is zero,” Barzani said.
“The post-2003 Iraq failed, no partnership, no power-sharing, 55 articles of constitution violated, marginalizing Sunnis, Kurds,” he said. “Iraq failed to accept Kurdistan partnership,” he concluded.
Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News