ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The President of the Kurdistan Region on Tuesday stated the will of millions of Kurds should be respected by the international community, urging Baghdad and neighboring countries to engage in dialogue to resolve regional issues.
In a victory speech following the historic independence referendum on Monday, Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani said the vote was not a crime but was enshrined in all international charters.
President Barzani urged Baghdad to begin serious dialogue with Erbil to resolve their outstanding problems.
The President added threats of punishment from Iraq would not be tougher than the genocide committed in the past.
“I ask Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and anyone who believes in peace and dialogue to start serious negotiations,” he said.
President Barzani reiterated the Kurdistan Region’s partnership with Iraq and the international coalition in the fight against terror.
He also mentioned refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) were considered “our brothers and most welcome in Kurdistan and it will remain their home.”
On relations with neighbors Turkey and Iran, President Barzani said that within the past 25 years, the Kurdistan Region has proven they are “factors of stability.”
“We always praise the role of Iran and Turkey during the 1992 Kurdish exodus, Anfal, and genocide campaigns,” Barzani said. “We want [our relationship] to stay on the same path.”
In response to recent threats against Kurdistan by neighboring countries following the referendum, the President noted nothing would “be as harmful as the Anfal genocide campaigns and chemical attacks.”
President Barzani thanked the citizens of Kurdistan, the High Council for the Independence Referendum, and security forces for the successful vote.
“All attempts to break the will of the people and retreat from independence failed,” he concluded.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany