ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A spokesperson of the UK government on Thursday called the Iranian missile attack on Koya ‘dangerous’ and ‘disproportionate’.
On Saturday, Iranian missiles struck the headquarters of two main Iranian Kurdish parties as well as a refugee camp in the Kurdistan Region’s town of Koya which killed at least 15 and injured 42 others.
“The UK supports the statements issued by the Iraqi government, the Kurdish Regional Government and UNAMI. We urge all parties to show restraint, and to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq,” the statement by the UK government spokesperson said.
The US State Department on Tuesday also condemned the attack as a ‘violation of Iraq’s sovereignty.’
A British delegation led British Ambassador to Iraq, Jon Wilks, this week visited the Kurdistan region, and met on Wednesday with the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region, Nechirvan Barzani, in Erbil, discussing the Koya attack, the Iraqi government formation, and the upcoming parliamentary elections in Kurdistan on 30 September.
The UK government was following the recent events in Iraq with concern, the spokesperson affirmed.
“I have been visiting the Kurdistan region of Iraq in the last four days, one of the issues I have been talking everyone about in Sulaimani and Erbil is the Iranian missile attack on the Iranian Kurdish opposition meeting here near Koya,” the British ambassador said in a video message on Thursday.
“It seems to me although there is a balance between the right of every state to self-defense but also the right of every state of sovereignty and independence respected, this attack was both disproportionate and dangerous,” he stated.
The British ambassador argued “there were Kurdish groups in that meeting who believe in political solution to achieve their goals, what sort of message does that send when Iranian missiles achieve that level of death and destruction?”
The British diplomat said that although every state has right to self-defense, they also have to abide by international law.
“One of principles of international law is that use of force must be proportionate. This to me seems an example both infraction of sovereignty and independence of Iraq, but also sending the exactly wrong message the need for all sides to look for political solutions,” he added.
“So we call on all sides to deescalate and to attempt to achieve a political solution to these differences,” Wilks concluded.
Furthermore, the UK government condemned "in the strongest terms any violence directed against diplomatic missions, including those of the US, as we have witnessed in Basra and Baghdad in recent days.”
The UK called on all "parties to proceed with the formation of an inclusive government in accordance with the constitutional timeline, which will address the needs and hopes of all Iraqi citizens.”
A spokesperson for the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Safeen Dizayee, on Thursday called on the conflicting parties to stop using the Kurdistan Region as their battleground.
“The KRG believes the issue cannot be resolved through military means or violence, but there should be other ways to reach a resolution,” he concluded.
Editing by Nadia Riva