"Kurds have to work for social and political progress"

Former French Consul General in Erbil

ERBIL (K24) - The former French Consul General in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Region Frédéric Tissot, told K24's Omed Jaff in a TV interview broadcast on Monday that the last say on the independence of the Kurdistan Region (South Kurdistan) belongs to the Kurdish people. The former diplomat said no other people or country will decide in the name of Kurds to create an independent Kurdish state.

Tissot, who served between the years 2008 and 2012, said Kurds have been engaged in a state-building process in South Kurdistan since 1992 when the Kurdistan National Assembly (Parliament) formed in the aftermath of the Gulf War. Tissot said Kurds in Iraq are (now) ready to found an independent Kurdistan.

Mentioning Kurdish domestic issues such as the presidential crisis and financial difficulties, he said Kurdish political parties should compromise over the presidency, and that the KRG has to find a way to reach an agreement with Baghdad regarding the budget.

Tissot told K24 that via political parties and parliament, Kurds will eventually have to decide to secede from Iraq. He said, there are risks to that goal, especially from the two neighbours of Iran and Turkey that eye the political and military advancements in South Kurdistan with suspicion because of their inability to solve their internal Kurdish issues. However, he said, Kurds have to live with their neighbours.

The former French diplomat said the Kurdistan Region has become important not only in the Middle East but also the world. To that end, Kurdish forces in both Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq must be supported more with weapons and training in the fight against the Islamic State group (IS).

Tissot said the Kobani and Shingal (Sinjar) victories were Kurdish-Coalition victories. US-led coalition warplanes have been giving air support to Kurdish Peshmerga and YPG forces in Iraq and Syria, respectively in the war against the Islamist militants.

Regarding the political situation in Iranian Kurdistan, where he extensively travelled in the early 1980s, Tissot said Kurdish factions like Komala and Kurdistan Democratic Party-Iran should organise and unite, then find ways to negotiate with Tehran.

Touching on the November 13 attacks by Islamist militants in Paris where more 130 people were brutally killed, the former diplomat said neither the French people nor France is not afraid. He said Paris was a "symbolic target for Islamist militants because of the values of democracy and secularism it represents."

No matter what the future holds, "Kurds have to work for social and political progress" Tissot concluded.