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Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Kurdish President: Conditions Favorable for Independence. (The Kurds tried to help build “a new Iraq.”)

As Iraq’s attempts at building a new government failed on Tuesday, Kurdish President Massoud Barzani said he would push for a referendum on independence for Kurdistan.

Barzani spoke with VOA's Persian service on Tuesday in Irbil, the largest city in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

The Iraqi army has struggled against offensives by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the Islamic militant group that has captured large sections of Iraq’s north and west.


When the Iraqi army abandoned the city of Kirkuk, Kurdish peshmerga stepped in to defend the city, as well as other northern towns deserted by Iraqi forces.

The Kurds are exerting control over a larger part of the region, which is behind an increased push for independence.

“This is a natural right that must be achieved,” Barzani said, adding that he hopes to conduct a referendum within months. “ I believe now the conditions are also favorable for independence. … Once achieved, we will help our brethren in Iraq, within our capabilities, to help Iraq maybe surmount the current crisis.

“But this does not mean that we will set aside the independence of Kurdistan,” he added. “A referendum in Kurdish areas will determine our ultimate decision. We will implement whatever the people decide.”

'A new Iraq'

As far as what the future holds for Iraq, Barzani said, “I doubt if Iraq will go back to what it was. Maybe only God knows what will happen.”

He said that in 2003, with the downfall of former Iraq President Saddam Hussein’s Baathist regime, the Kurds tried to help build “a new Iraq.”

An Iraq “in which everyone’s rights and duties were well defined … in order to build a democratic, federal, multi-party Iraq,” he said.

However, that didn’t happen, Barzani said.

“If a democratic, federal, Iraq would have taken shape, and Kurdish rights had not been violated, no one would have thought about independence,” he said.

The country today finds itself split along ethnic and secular lines, as witnessed Tuesday in Iraq’s parliament session, which ended quickly after Sunnis and Kurds walked out.

They complained that the Shi'ites had failed to nominate a prime minister, a condition they had set for revealing their nominees for speaker.

Respect for Kurds

Barzani said there are conditions that must be met before the Kurds will help in supporting the current Iraqi government.

“The Kurds did not bring about the dangerous situation (that threatens) the integrity of Iraq,” he said. “We have not partitioned Iraq, rather, it was others who brought about this catastrophe and broke up Iraq into pieces. And that is why those who created this situation must resolve it as well.“

Barzani said that for years, Kurds have been treated as “second- and third-class citizens. That is why, from now on, we will not accept such treatment," adding that this is another reason he is pushing for independence for the Kurdish people.....................http://www.voanews.com/content/kurdish-president-conditions-are-favorable-for-independence/1949439.html

2/7/14
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