UK ‘to protect identity, rights’ of Kurds under Iraqi constitution: May tells Barzani
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – British Prime Minister Theresa May spoke with the Kurdistan Region’s Prime Minister, Nechirvan Barzani, via telephone on Monday, reiterating her support for Kurdish rights in the Iraqi Constitution.
In the phone call, both sides discussed “the Kurdistan referendum, relations with Baghdad and counter-terrorism,” according to the UK government’s press office.
May reiterated the UK’s continued respect for the territorial integrity and unity of Iraq, a Downing Street spokesperson stated.
“On the Kurdistan referendum, Prime Minister May reiterated the UK’s continued respect for the territorial integrity and unity of Iraq. She welcomed Prime Minister Barzani’s government’s recognition of the Iraqi Federal Supreme Court’s ruling that Iraq is unified and indivisible. She said the UK would continue to fight to protect the identity and rights of the Kurdish people under the Iraqi constitution.”
May also agreed on the importance of dialogue and negotiations between Erbil and Baghdad as well as the need for an “agreement over Federal control, joint management of the borders and a resumption of international flights to Kurdistan’s airports in Erbil and Sulaimani. They both said that they hoped to see progress on this soon.”
The British Premier also expressed the UK’s continued support for the Kurdistan Region and its people within a unified Iraq and urged for “continued reform in the political, economic and security sectors to strengthen Kurdistan’s institutions and deliver for the Kurdish people,” according to the press release.
Counter-terrorism was another topic that both sides discussed, stressing the importance of “continued cooperation” to protect the people of both Kurdistan and the UK.
“The Prime Minister said that she would be pleased to see Prime Minister Barzani in London in due course to make further progress on these matters,” the spokesperson concluded.
Ties between Erbil and Baghdad have considerably deteriorated following the Sep. 25 referendum on independence held in the Kurdistan Region and the disputed territories, which saw an overwhelming majority vote in favor of secession.
Baghdad has imposed collective punitive measures on the Kurdistan Region, including an international flight ban, and the sanctions continue to be enforced as no date has been set for talks to begin.
Editing by Nadia Riva