Iraq’s Kurds will go ahead with a referendum on independence on Sept. 25, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Massoud Barzani has said.
Iraqi Kurds will seek talks with the Shi’ite-led central government to implement the expected “yes” outcome of the referendum, even if they take two years or more, he said at a news conference.
“We will never go back to the failed partnership” with Baghdad, he said, adding Iraq has become a “theocratic, sectarian state” and not the democratic one that was supposed to be built after the 2003 overthrow of Saddam Hussein.
Barzani dismissed the concern of Iraq’s powerful neighbors Iran and Turkey that the vote could destabilize the region, committing to respecting the laws on international boundaries and not seek to redraw region’s borders.
“Only independence can reward the mothers of our martyrs,” he said, reminding the international community of the role played by the Kurds in the war on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
“Only through independence we can secure our future,” he added.