ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Thursday voiced concerns over the Sep. 25 referendum in the Kurdistan Region, claiming it would destabilize the region.
“The members of the Security Council expressed concern over the potentially destabilizing impact of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s plans to unilaterally hold a referendum next week,” UNSC President Tekeda Alemu stated in a statement.
The Kurdistan Region has insisted on holding a referendum on independence from Iraq despite the opposition of neighboring countries and the international community.
The Kurdish leadership has repeatedly said that the vote will not be postponed unless the people of the Kurdistan Region receive a guaranteed alternative for independence from the international community.
“Council members note that the planned referendum is scheduled to be held while counter-Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) operations — in which Kurdish forces have played a critical role — are ongoing, and could detract from efforts to ensure the safe, voluntary return of over 3 million refugees and internally displaced persons,” the UNSC statement reads.
Senior Kurdish officials have previously highlighted that it was the Peshmerga forces who destroyed the myth of the Islamic State (IS) in 2014 when the Iraqi army collapsed and affirm the referendum in no way would affect the efforts of fighting the jihadist group.
“Council members expressed their continuing respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and unity of Iraq and urged all outstanding issues between the Federal Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government to be resolved, in accordance with the provisions of the Iraqi Constitution, through structured dialogue and compromise supported by the international community,” the statement continued. “Council members expressed full support for United Nations efforts to facilitate dialogue between Iraqi stakeholders.”
The Constitution of Iraq has been one of the main points of conflict between Erbil and Baghdad. The federal government of Iraq labels the Kurdistan Region’s Referendum as unconstitutional while the Kurdish officials in Erbil emphasize that Baghdad has violated multiple articles of the Constitution and failed to uphold its primary tenets.
An independent Kurdistan has been a long-awaited dream of over 40 million stateless Kurds around the world.
The Kurdish officials have repeatedly criticized Baghdad for treating the people of the Kurdistan Region as second-class citizens.
Editing by G.H. Renaud