Barzani: Either we all die or live freely

The people of the Kurdistan Region, including Christians, have one destiny, either they all die together or live freely, said President Masoud Barzani on Saturday.

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – The people of the Kurdistan Region, including Christians, have one destiny, either they all die together or live freely, said President Masoud Barzani on Saturday.

The President of the Kurdistan Region received former French Prime Minister François Fillon and his accompanied delegates in Erbil.

The purpose of the visit was to bring humanitarian assistance to the refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) as well as expressing support to the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in the fight against the Islamic State (IS), according to the Kurdistan Region Presidency Office.

 

Fillon praised Peshmerga and the role of Barzani in the military campaign against the jihadists. He highlighted the role of people in the Kurdistan Region and Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in welcoming almost two million refugees and IDPs.

The Region shares over 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) of its border with IS in the north of Iraq. Peshmerga have been one of the most efficient ground forces in the fight against the insurgents and have liberated large swaths of territory from IS.

Fillon also praised the peaceful existence and religious tolerance in the Region located in the heart of the Middle East.

Barzani thanked Paris for their support to the Kurdistan Region in the fight against extremists.

“Da’esh is a threat to all humanity, and the international community needs to put more effort to combat the group ideologically, militarily and politically,” Barzani emphasized, using the Arabic pejorative for IS.

Regarding Christians, he mentioned that the destiny of all the people in the Kurdistan Region was connected. “I have told our Christian brothers and sisters not to think about leaving the homeland [Kurdistan]; either we all die together or live in peace and freedom,” Barzani stated.

 

He also explained to the delegates that there is no racism or ethnic and religious discrimination among the people of Kurdistan. Barzani stated that co-existence and living in harmony had become the tradition and culture in the Region.

President Barzani hoped that France would continue supporting Peshmerga and the people’s rights of the Kurdistan Region to determine their future.

Kurdistan aims to hold an independence referendum by the end of 2016. The referendum comes at a time where Erbil and Baghdad have failed to reach agreements on the issues between both governments.

On Sunday, Fillon also met the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region Nechirvan Barzani and the Chancellor of the Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC) Masrour Barzani in Erbil. During the meeting, Barzani discussed the current situation in Kurdistan and Iraq.

Masrour Barzani stated that preserving the unity of Iraq is meaningless when its citizens are getting executed due to their name and identity, according to a KRSC statement. 

Barzani's statement referred to the sectarian conflict between the Sunni and Shia Arabs in the south.

He pointed out that the people of the Kurdistan Region have the right to decide on their future, whether they want to stay as part of Iraq or become an independent country.

 

Reporting by Mewan Dolamari
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany