Barzani: Referendum not crime, Kurds have right to independence
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The President of the Kurdistan Region Masoud Barzani on Wednesday attended a rally in the province of Sulaimani in support of the Kurdistan Region’s upcoming referendum scheduled for Sep. 25.
President Barzani visited Sulaimani and met with Iraqi President Fuad Masum and the leadership of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) where they discussed the recent developments in the region as well as the referendum.
Later in the afternoon, the Kurdish President attended a rally at the Sulaimani football stadium to address the crowd ahead of the historic vote.
The President said the referendum was not a crime and it was normal for a nation to exercise its right to self-determination after suffering a century of oppression.
“Holding a referendum is not the end of the world,” President Barzani said, adding the people of the Kurdistan Region should not be stopped from determining their future.
President Barzani also expressed the Kurdistan Region’s readiness and willingness to hold “serious and frank dialogue” with Baghdad to resolve all the disputes following the referendum.
“If resolving the disputes [between Erbil and Baghdad] requires time, we could wait a year or two and then say ‘farewell’ in a peaceful and brotherly manner,” he added.
The President offered encouraging words regarding the Kurdistan Region’s relationship with Baghdad after independence, stating the two “could become allies, friends, and neighbors.”
President Barzani also revealed the High Council for the Referendum always reiterated in its meetings that if there were a better alternative to the referendum, the people of the Kurdistan Region would accept it.
“Unfortunately, we have not received such an alternative yet,” Barzani said.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany
(Additional reporting by Baxtiyar Goran)