The president of Kurdistan has declared that independence “is not a threat to anyone” during a Newroz (new year holiday) speech. Masoud Barzani discussed the most important issues faced by the autonomous region of Kurdistan in Iraq, including the difficult relationship with the government in Baghdad.
“We have two options before us: either we forget the struggles and sacrifices of our people over the last 100 years, or the current situation and nature of our relationship with Baghdad must change,” he said, referring to disputes between Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) over independence, oil exports and unpaid dues.
“We will not accept to be subordinates to Baghdad, and Baghdad does not accept our partnership. Independence for Kurdistan is a peaceful call and is not a threat to anyone," he added.
He also spoke of an independence referendum, saying that it would be held once serious talks with Baghdad had taken place, however no set date was specified.
"We want to reach an amicable agreement with Baghdad on this question through mutual understanding. Before holding the referendum, the Kurdistan Region will engage in a serious and frank dialogue with Baghdad on our disputes and relationship,” he said.
In the Newroz speech, he also extended his best wishes to the Peshmerga forces battling Daesh.
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