ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – In a trilateral meeting in New York on Wednesday, the Foreign Ministers of Iraq, Iran, and Turkey called on the Kurdistan Region to postpone the Sep. 25 referendum on independence stating the vote would destabilize the region.
The meeting revolved around the upcoming referendum in the Kurdistan Region that all three ministers felt “reaffirmed their strong commitment to the territorial integrity and political unity of Iraq,” according to the Turkish Foreign Ministry's press office.
The statement mentioned that the planned vote would “put Iraq’s hard-earned gains against Da’esh at great risk,” using the pejorative Arabic acronym for the Islamic State (IS).
The three officials labeled the referendum as ‘unconstitutional’ and would provoke new conflict in the region.
The trilateral meeting was held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York.
They also urged the Kurdistan Region's leadership to refrain from holding the referendum, claiming it would not benefit the people of the Kurdistan Region.
The foreign ministers emphasized constructive dialogue between Erbil and Baghdad was of utmost importance to address disputes and unresolved issues between the two parties, and the need for the international community to engage with the cause.
The President of the Kurdistan Region Masoud Barzani has insisted on holding the vote, stating the referendum would only be postponed should the Kurds receive an alternative guaranteeing independence for the Kurdistan Region in the coming years.
An independent state of Kurdistan has been the hundred-year-long awaited dream of Kurds worldwide. The Kurds have been labeled the largest stateless nation in the world.
The fight against IS was another topic broached in the meeting between the envoys of Iraq, Iran, and Turkey.
The Foreign Minister of Iraq, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, released a statement on his official website after the meeting, stating “Iraq, Turkey, and Iran maintain the unconstitutionality of the referendum… and agree to take countermeasures in coordination with each other.”
He called for a further dialogue and negotiation between Erbil and Baghdad within the framework of the Iraqi constitution to resolve the disputes.
Kurdish senior officials have accused Baghdad of violating 55 articles of the Iraqi Constitution and treating the people of the Kurdistan Region as second-class citizens.
Barzani has repeatedly referred to the preamble of the Iraqi Constitution in rallies held in support of the referendum as proof that nothing is tying the two nations together as Baghdad has violated its tenents more than once. It reads: “The adherence to this Constitution preserves for Iraq its free union of people, of land, and of sovereignty.”
“The people of the Kurdistan Region have the right to peacefully and democratically decide on their future whether they want to remain part of Iraq or secede… Self-determination is the fundamental principle of the international law and the UN charter,” Barzani has previously said.
Editing by G.H. Renaud