ASIA/IRAQ - Kurdish leader Barzani sponsors referendum on independence: we will respect self-determination for the Nineveh Plain

Wednesday, 12 July 2017 geopolitics   kurds   middle east   international politics

Brussels (Agenzia Fides) - The referendum convened by the government of the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan to sanction their independence from Iraq is a decisive step for the future of that region. And if Europe cannot stand publicly in support of this choice, must at least remain neutral, avoiding to support the anti-independence institutions of the central government in Baghdad. These are the key points that Kurdish leader Masud Barzani, President of the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan, wanted to emphasize in the meeting held in Brussels with representatives of the European Parliament on Tuesday, 11 July. The meeting with European parliamentarians is the first stage of a real diplomatic tour in Europe designed by Barzani to prepare and inform international public opinion about the independence referendum of Iraqi Kurdistan - put on the agenda for September 25th - and its possible effects on the Middle East scenarios. In his European tour, Barzani is accompanied by a committee formed by non-Kurdish minority representatives, including Christian Wahid Hurmuz. In his meeting with members of the European Parliament, the President of the Autonomous Region of Iraqi Kurdistan presented the referendum as a great opportunity to correct "all the wrong things done against the Kurds" after the First World War and claimed the right of the Kurds "to be independent and free". Barzani also claimed the sacrifices made by his regional government to "save Christians and Yazidis" from the jihadist violence of the self-styled Islamic State (Daesh), reiterating that the independent Kurdish leadership will respect the right to self-determination of the peoples of the Nineveh Plain, a land of historical roots of native Christian communities. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 12/7/2017)