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Barzani Says There is No Turning Back on Referendum Bid

BRUSSELS -- Masoud Barzani speaking at the European Parliament in Brussels on Tuesday (July 11) said that over the last century in Iraq the Kurds have been treated with hostility and that there was no turning back on the independence referendum bid.

A Kurdish delegation from the High Referendum Board headed by Barzani arrived in Brussels on Tuesday for talks on an upcoming referendum on the independence of Kurdistan, set for September 25 and fight against Islamic State (ISIS).

Barzani made a speech at the European Parliament in Brussels, stating that there had been two stages of governance in Iraq; one after World War I with Sunni Arab rule, and another after 2003 with Shia Arab rule which continues to this day -- in both he said, Kurds had been treated with hostility.

"We have frustrated at the nature of our [current] relations with Baghdad, if we continue the same relationship that would definitely lead to a bloody war, or we have to find a different formula and a different relationship with Baghdad," Barzani said.

"Since we have failed to become two good partners, we have to choose to become two good neighbors."

Barzani further said that he is seeking support for the independence referendum, urging EU officials not to stand against the move towards a Kurdish state.

"The Iraqi constitution that was drafted and voted on in 2005 when the people of Kurdistan voted in a high percentage with yes, it clearly states that commitment to this constitution is the prerequisite for Iraq to remain united, but unfortunately there have been no commitment and no adherence to this constitution, therefore the constitution of Iraq allows us to take this road [referendum]," he added.

Barzani said that separation from Iraq is the best solution to prevent the next generation in the Kurdistan Region from being subjected to the "same current suffering that we are facing now."

There is no turning back on the bid for an independent Kurdish state, he said, stressing that the process will go on through peaceful means and dialogue with Baghdad, neighboring countries and partners.

"As for the decision [on referendum] that is being made on 25th of September there would be a referendum, this is a reversible and there is no turn away from that and there is no concession to be made on this."

The Kurdistan Region's High Referendum Board is expected to send a delegation to Baghdad, Tehran, Ankara, London, Washington and Brussels for talks over the referendum.


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