ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Jan Jambon Tuesday said that his country would wait until after the referendum, scheduled for Sep. 25, 2017, is held to state its position regarding an independent Kurdistan Region.
The President of the Kurdistan Region, Masoud Barzani, accompanied by the Referendum High Committee members arrived in Brussels on Monday.
In a joint meeting on Tuesday, he met with the Belgian Deputy Prime Minister, who is also Interior Minister, Jan Jambon, Defense Minister Steven Vandeput and Immigration Minister Theo Francken in Brussels.
In a press conference following the meeting, Jan Jambon revealed the topics discussed with President Barzani.
“It was a very interesting meeting. We could exchange our point of views in, I would say the constitutional evolution of Kurdistan in the next months, and second the fight against the ISIS [Islamic State], and fight against terrorism in general in your area [Kurdistan Region & Iraq] and also in here [Europe],” he said.
He highlighted the efforts of Peshmerga in defeating the jihadist group, stating Belgium has “deep respect for Peshmerga’s efforts in defeating ISIS.”
Regarding the Kurdish referendum, Jambon mentioned that “every people, every nation has the right to organize its future, and I think this is a step upwards for the future of the Kurds."
"I think they’re in power to decide on their future, and we will wait for the result,” he added.
He also mentioned that the referendum is an internal issue to be handled between Erbil and Baghdad and stated that the Belgian government would wait for the results of the referendum and negotiations with Baghdad to "evaluate" the situation and take a clear stance.
Jambon also noted that the fight against terrorism would not end by simply "defeating the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq," and that efforts in combatting the ideology would need to continue.
“The root and origin of the problem are not solved.”
President Barzani gave positive feedback regarding the meeting.
“The meeting went very well. We delivered the Kurdistan Region's people's message to our friends in here in Belgium. There was a good understanding. Their stance was very friendly. We thank them,” Barzani said.
The Kurdish President is also expected to meet with Flanders Minister-President Geert Bourgeois and present a speech to the members of the EU parliament.
Editing by G.H. Renaud