‘Kurds decide proper time for independence’

Former French Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Bernard Kouchner said on Tuesday that it is the time that Kurdistan Region as a symbol of stability and democracy in the Middle East declares its independence.

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – Former French Minister of Foreign Affairs Bernard Kouchner said on Monday that Kurdistan Region is a symbol of stability and democracy in the Middle East and the proper time for their independence referendum is up to Kurds themselves.

"Kurdistan Region is the most stable and democratic region in the Middle East," Kouchner told Kurdistan24 in Dohuk. "I know that democracy here is not perfect, but where is democracy perfect?" he asked.

Kouchner was among several high-ranking foreign political figures participating in the opening ceremony of the American University of Kurdistan-Duhok (AUKD).

Referring to the internal political conflict in the Region, Kouchner emphasized that the Kurdish people need to be united and put aside domestic disputes to achieve the greater international objective.

The international community is frightened by the prospect of another independent state in the Middle East which is why they hesitate over arming Peshmerga directly, Kouchner explained, adding that many Western countries still support the borders drawn 100 years ago.

Disagreeing with this stance, the former diplomat asserted, "We have to understand and deal with the reality that those [old] borders don’t exist anymore." 

Kouchner praised the goal of establishing a world-class university in the middle of the war against IS and amidst other crises, calling it a step toward a better future.

When asked about the future of Syria, Kouchner said that it is difficult to predict upcoming events, because the condition inside the country is fluid and complicated. “We don’t even know what the role of Russia is in Syria," he continued.

Kouchner also expressed his doubt that holding presidential elections in Syria would be possible given the current political conditions as well as those on the ground.

The former Foreign Minister has developed a strong reputation for being "a friend of the Kurdish People.“ At a major conference in London, in Jan. 17, 2013, Kouchner called for the international recognition of the Kurdish genocide, also known as Anfal, in Kurdistan Region.

On March 16, 1988, a chemical attack by the Iraqi regime targeted 5,000 civilians in the city of Halabja.


Reporting by Gulala Khaled
Editing by Benjamin Kweskin and Ava Homa