ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – The UK officially announced their stance on the Kurdish independence referendum set to be held later this year, stating they support a unified Iraq.
In a statement on Monday, British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson addressed the Kurdistan Region’s recent decision to hold an independence referendum.
“We understand the aspirations of the Kurdish people and continue to support them politically, culturally, and economically within Iraq,” Johnson stated.
The British FM mentioned the timing of the referendum was not suitable, claiming it would affect the ongoing campaign against the Islamic State (IS).
“A referendum at this time will distract from the more urgent priorities of defeating [IS], stabilizing liberated areas, and addressing the long-term political issues that led to [IS’] rise,” he noted.
Following a meeting with the Kurdish parties, the President of the Kurdistan Region Masoud Barzani decided to hold an independence referendum on Sep. 25, 2017.
“Any referendum or political process toward independence must be agreed with the Government of Iraq in Baghdad,” Johnson continued.
“Unilateral moves toward independence would not be in the interests of the people of the Kurdistan Region, Iraq or of wider regional stability,” he said.
In the past, Kurds have repeatedly mentioned there is no real partnership in Iraq, and Kurds are treated as guests rather than citizens.
“The UK supports a stable, democratic, and unified Iraq, one that is able to provide the security, jobs, healthcare, and education all Iraqis want and deserve,” Johnson explained.
“We urge all parties to engage in dialogue to deliver a better future for their people on the basis of the Iraqi Constitution,” the British FM concluded.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany