KRG leader Barzani rules out cancelation of independence referendum

KRG leader Barzani rules out cancelation of independence referendum

KRG leader Barzani rules out cancelation of independence referendum

Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Masoud Barzani has once again ruled out the cancelation of the Sept. 25 independence referendum, saying that “no one should think about cancelling the results.”

“No person or party can take that decision,” Barzani told the visiting Iraqi parliament speaker Salim al-Jabouri, Barzani’s senior assistant Hemin Hawrami said in a Facebook post, Rudaw reported on Oct. 8.

The KRG leader reportedly told al-Jabouri that the results of the referendum “are the verdict of the people of Kurdistan.”

According to Hawrami, Barzani said the KRG is “ready for a broad-based dialogue with an open agenda in a defined time frame with Baghdad,” adding that “we want to reach an agreement on post referendum stage through dialogue and patience” with the central authority.

Barzani’s office and the office of the parliament speaker both separately published statements following the meeting, none of which mentioned whether or not the KRG is ready to discuss cancelling the vote. Hawrami’s post on Twitter of the meeting that was published in English did not mention this detail either.

Jabouri’s office, however, stated that Barzani had “his own view” on the referendum and the path forward, which the parliament speaker said must be discussed with the Iraqi government, parliament, and parties to come up with a vision that “best serves the interests of Iraq and heals the country’s problems.”

The Baghdad government and parliament have called on the KRG to first cancel the outcome of the vote before any talks can be held within the framework of the Iraqi constitution.

Saadi al-Hadithi, the spokesperson of the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, said on Oct. 8 that the outcome of the meeting between Barzani and two of the Iraqi vice presidents, Ayad Allawi and Osama al-Nujaifi who called on Baghdad to lift the proposed blockade against Arbil, is not binding and does not necessarily reflect the position of the Iraqi government.

KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, meanwhile, told Rudaw on Oct. 8 that he would like to see the KRG and Baghdad engage in serious discussions “without the involvement of other players like Iran and Turkey.”

“The KRG’s position is clear – after the referendum we want to begin serious talks with Baghdad. The meetings have to be in a way that no party suggests preconditions. Both sides should sit unconditionally at the negotiating table. In our opinion, this is the best solution,” Barzani said, adding that “the best solution is not turning to other countries to resolve the issues of Iraq.”

When asked about possible steps that could be taken to heal relations with Ankara, Barzani said “the knot is very tough and not easy to untie, but we have to gear up all our efforts for relations to normalize as before.”

“We are not a threat to any of our neighbors, neither Turkey nor Iran. We want to maintain and improve our friendly, economic, political, and social relations with the countries around us,” he added.

Meanwhile, Iraq has filed a lawsuit through the office of the public prosecutor to put the officials who arranged the independence referendum on trial.

The office of the Iraqi Prime Minister said in a statement that in addition to previous measures taken against Arbil with regard to “the illegitimate referendum,” the government’s National Security Council decided in its meeting on Oct. 9 to pass through new measures.
It is not clear whether the lawsuit includes the names of senior KRG officials, including Masoud Barzani.

The new measures also foresee that the “networks of the communication for mobile phones should be under the authority of the federal authority and have to be transferred to Baghdad.”