The Kurdish people will survive recent regional punitive measures targeting the Kurdistan Regional Government, former Iraqi deputy prime minister Hoshyar Zebari said Wednesday.
The KRG has come under increased regional and international pressure following a referendum on independence held on Monday.
After the Monday vote, Iran closed its borders with Kurdistan and Turkey threatened to cut all land links, including cutting oil exports from northern Iraq.
In addition, Baghdad demanded the Kurds hand over control of airports and borders in northern Iraq to the federal government.
The three parties threatened more economic sanctions and military actions.
Speaking to Gulf News yesterday, Zebari, who is a close advisor to Kurdistan regional president Massoud Barzani, said: “The Kurdish people have experienced many sanctions and embargoes in the past, and in my opinion, they will bear this one as well.”
“We will give them (central government in Baghdad) some time to absorb the shock, but we insist on dialogue and we are prepared for it,” he responded to a question on Baghdad’s position.
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Commenting on Baghdad’s demands on handing over control of exit in Kurdistan, Zebari told Gulf News, the Iraqi constitution detailed the responsibilities of federal and regional governments, as well as the joint ones.
“This is why we went on and held the referendum. It is because they didn’t respect the constitution.”
He stressed that the door will continue to be open for dialogue with the central government in Baghdad.
“In my opinion, the way to defuse the tension is (only) through dialogue,” he said.
“The Iraqi Kurdish referendum had a very high turnout, and this alone sent an important message to Iraq’s neighbors that this is what the Kurdish people want,” Zebari said, denying statements of some Kurdish officials of being forced to vote in the referendum and election fraud.
“There were 400 international observers and all the cameras of international media. The results will prove those who had doubts about the referendum wrong,” Zebari said.
The vote, he said, would not automatically trigger independence.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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