Putin says Moscow handling post-Kurdistan referendum situation "with care"
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) - The President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, on Wednesday said that Moscow was managing its relationship with Iraq and the Kurdistan Region with great care given the escalation of tensions following the Sep. 25 referendum.
Speaking at the 2017 Russian Energy Week forum in Moscow, Putin affirmed that Russia was pursuing a policy of "non-interference" and carefully managing its ties with Erbil and Baghdad to avoid encouraging any further instability in the region.
He stressed that it was not in the interest of anyone to halt the Kurdistan Region's oil exports which are shipped via pipeline and through Turkey's Ceyhan port to international oil markets.
Putin also noted that Russia maintains good relations with the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan.
His speech comes as Turkey has threatened to shut down the Kurdistan Region's Ceyhan pipeline, currently the source of over 90 percent of the Region's revenue, in retaliation for the Sep. 25 vote.
Following the Kurdistan Region's referendum, relations between Erbil and Baghdad have deteriorated. Iraq, Turkey, and Iran continue to issue threats and apply pressure on the Kurdistan Region with additional sanctions.
On Tuesday, Russian Minister of Energy, Alexander Novak, while answering a Kurdistan 24 correspondent’s question at a press conference in Moscow, indicated that Russia had no intention to scale back its investments and operations in the Kurdistan Region.
"Russia will continue to work with the Kurdistan Region and will maintain its operations, mainly in the energy sector, in the Region," he said.
Editing by G.H. Renaud