ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The Foreign Minister of Poland recently said his country understands the ambitions of the Kurds, but urged them to cooperate with neighboring countries ahead of the historic independence referendum.
Speaking to Kurdistan 24 on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York, Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski said he hoped Erbil and Baghdad diplomatically resolve their issues.
Waszczykowski said the Kurdistan Region’s upcoming referendum on independence from Iraq was a “delicate issue,” and that his country would monitor the event “from a distance.”
“I’m not sure what will be the result of the referendum in Kurdistan,” he said. “Our opinion is our advice: be cautious and cooperate in the region with others.”
Although he did not openly voice Poland’s support for the Kurdistan Region’s referendum, the Foreign Minister said he understood why the Kurds wanted to pursue independence.
“I perfectly understand the ambitions of Kurds,” he said. “They’re supposed to have more autonomy inside of Iraq.”
On the Kurds’ ongoing battle with the Islamic State (IS), Waszczykowski said the Peshmerga forces had a “positive influence” in the fight against the extremist group.
“They [the Kurdish forces] liberated large parts of Kurdistan and large parts of Syria,” the Polish official said, praising the efforts of Peshmerga in the Region and US-backed Kurdish forces in Syria.
However, Waszczykowski warned the militant group would remain a threat in the Middle East unless efforts of “reconciliation and reconstruction” were continued.
Editing by G.H. Renaud
(Kurdistan 24 team in Washington, DC conducted the interview)