The Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) will declare an independence of Iraqi Kurdistan unilaterally, if the Iraqi Federal Government does not enter negotiations on the terms and condictions of this move, Vahal Ali, director of communications in the office of Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani said on September 29.
Ali blamed the Iraqi government for a “very aggressive” stance towards the independence referendum as well as for Baghdad’s threats to cut the KRG oil pipeline to Turkey and the air flights ban over the region, according to the New York Times (NYT).
“We are hopeful that these are all temporary measures,” the NYT quoted Ali as saying. “We want this to be a peaceful transition, but if Baghdad decides not, there is a lot we can also do.”
Barzani’s spokesman emphasized that Iraqi Kurds overwhelmingly voted in favor of independence in the Monday raferendum and the KRG would be pushed to unilaterally declare independence if Baghdad does not enter in negotiations over the “peaceful” transition.
“President Barzani was obligated to conduct the referendum and now is obligated to respond to that result,” Ali said. “We’ve repeatedly said we can negotiate, but that has to be on the question of independence.”
It seems a lack of any international support does not cool off the KRG that clearly seeks to turn an northern Iraqi area controlled by its military forces into an independent Kurdish state.
Meanwhile, US State Secretary Rex Tillerson announced that the US rejects the KRG’s referendum and its outcome in an official statement:
“The United States does not recognize the Kurdistan Regional Government’s unilateral referendum held on Monday.
The vote and the results lack legitimacy and we continue to support a united, federal, democratic and prosperous Iraq.
We remain concerned about the potential negative consequences of this unilateral step. Prior to the vote, we worked with both the KRG and the central government in Baghdad to pursue a more productive framework and to promote stability and prosperity for the people of the Kurdistan region. These aspirations, ultimately, cannot be advanced through unilateral measures such as this referendum.
We urge calm and an end to vocal recriminations and threats of reciprocal actions. We urge Iraqi Kurdish authorities to respect the constitutionally-mandated role of the central government and we call upon the central government to reject threats or even allusion to possible use of force. The United States asks all parties, including Iraq’s neighbors, to reject unilateral actions and the use of force.
The fight against ISIS/ Daesh is not over, and extremist groups are seeking to exploit instability and discord. We urge our Iraqi partners to remain focused on defeating ISIS/Daesh.
We encourage all sides to engage constructively in a dialogue to improve the future of all Iraqis.”