Kurdistan FM: Kurds treated as guest in Baghdad, we want our state
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – There is no trust between the governments in Erbil and Baghdad, an amicable divorce between both is needed to bring stability, prosperity, and security, said a Kurdish official on Sunday.
The head of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Foreign Relations Department Falah Mustafa participated in the Halifax International Security Forum, an annual defense and security forum sponsored by Canada.
He mentioned Kurds in the Kurdistan Region envision a country of their own in northern Iraq, which would cover about 85,000 square kilometers.
“It is a marriage that has failed. We need to have an amicable divorce to bring about stability, security, and prosperity,” Mustafa said regarding Erbil and Baghdad relations.
Recently, Canada sent military aid to the Kurdistan Region Peshmerga forces, but Mustafa denied receiving any support, stating the federal government of Iraq had blockaded the shipment.
“This has been part of our problem with Baghdad. There is no trust,” he said during the forum.
“It is illogical and not reasonable really for all flights to have to land in Baghdad first, to be inspected, and then to go to the Kurdistan region,” Mustafa continued.
“The point is, if we cannot trust each other, how could we live together for the future?” The Kurdish envoy emphasized.
Moreover, Mustafa mentioned the KRG highly deserved military assistance and humanitarian aid because the Region was a shield against the biggest terrorist organization in the world, the Islamic State (IS).
Following the emergence of IS in Iraq in 2014, the Iraqi army fled and failed to defend the area.
Peshmerga forces stopped the extremists’ advance and had since then liberated large swaths of territory.
“The international community has a moral responsibility to support the Peshmerga because when the front lines were collapsing, the Peshmerga stood…If we didn’t fight them, [IS] would come back,” the Kurdish FM said.
Jordan Owens, the press secretary for Canadian Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan, previously told reporters Canada was providing the aid they promised, but could not “speak to the Iraqi government’s internal processes.”
Additionally, Mustafa thanked Canadians for their support to the KRG but emphasized the need for aid to continue as the war against IS was not over.
“Building strong democratic institutions. Ensuring the rule of law. Ensuring good governance. Ensuring economic reform. Ensuring empowerment of women…so we can be the democratic experience that could be a beacon in the region,” the FM explained.
Additionally, the Kurdish envoy said Kurds were treated as guests in Baghdad. “We do not want to be guests. We want to establish our own state,” he concluded.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany