Kurds open to dialogue on independence BID

CNC
Added On September 14, 2017

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has called for talks with Kurdish leaders following independence referendum in a semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.
 
CNC had an exclusive interview with Hoshyar Zebari, a leading Kurdish figure.
 
Hoshyar Zebari was former Iraq's Finance and Foreign Minister. He is now a senior adviser to President Massoud Barzani Kurdistan regional Government .
 
On June 7, the Kurdish President Masoud Barzani announced his intention to hold a referendum on Sept. 25. The vote is meant to seek the independence of the Kurdish region from Iraq
 
The independence of Kurdistan is expected to be opposed by some countries because it would threaten the integrity of Iraq. And it will also come as the Iraqi forces are in fight against terrorism, including the IS militant group.
 
Zebari said the Kurdish leadership suggested the open dialogue held with international participation by the permanent members of the Security Council, the United Nations and the Arab League.
 
SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH): HOSHYAR ZEBARI, Kurdish Leading Figure (01:15--02:17)
 "As for the objection of some countries, for my information, We have talks, discussions and contacts at the highest levels. Today we have large delegations from the United States, the Islamic Republic of Iran, from other parties and from Turkey, and these talks are continuing to clarify the position that the region will pose no threat to their interests. We say this referendum will be in Iraq exclusively, and it is not for the establishment of a Greater Kurdistan at all. This referendum is for the people of Kurdistan in Iraq exclusively."
 
Meanwhile, Zebari also tried to send reassurance messages to neighboring countries.
 
SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH): HOSHYAR ZEBARI, Kurdish Leading Figure
(02:58--03:58) "Whatever the result of the referendum, whatever the procedures after the referendum, Kurdistan needs Baghdad as a strategic depth and Baghdad needs the region as a strategic depth in terms of security, political, economic, trade, oil and gas, water, tourism, cultural and social communication, and the referendum does not mean Final rupture. Surly we will hold dialogue with Baghdad, I mean the road of a dialogue in open. Our goal from the referendum is clear, it is independent."
The leading Kurdish figure also dispelled the worry about the negative impact of the referendum on the war against IS militants.
 
SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH): HOSHYAR ZEBARI, Kurdish Leading Figure
(03:59--04:12)"The independence referendum will not affect the war, as the obligations of the regional government and Peshmerga to continue fight against Daesh and terrorism until eliminating them, not only physically, but also ideologically and economically, and to destroy the incubators of this strange and abnormal thoughts."
 
The step also caused worries in the neighboring countries of Turkey, Iran and Syria. They said it would threaten their territorial integrity, as larger populations of Kurds live in those countries.
 
Zebari said the referendum does not mean drawing borders of the Kurdish region in Iraq, but it means to explore the opinion of the people there about their future.
 
The Kurds want the northern oil-rich province of Kirkuk and part of its surrounding areas to be incorporated into their region and their future state, a move fiercely opposed by the Arabs, Turkomans and the Baghdad government.
 
SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH): HOSHYAR ZEBARI, Kurdish Leading Figure
(02:18--02:57) "The Kurdistani side is keen more than the others that no conflict will break out, and not to bring the country to the game of action and reaction or provocation and provocation from the other side at all, but we say and always do that if we are attacked we will defend ourselves and will not be the initiators, and not the seeker for breaking out any conflict."