Barzani says time is ripe to declare independence

Iraq (KurdPress) – The time is ripe for the Kurdish people to transform their semi-autonomous region into a sovereign state by declaring independence from the central government in Baghdad, the region’s President Massoud Barzani told French newspaper Le Figaro.

“It’s time for Kurds to declare independence… We want to leave Iraq peacefully via dialogue and negotiations,” Barzani was quoted by Le Figaro.

Barzani called on the next French President set to be elected on Sunday (May 7) to recognize a Kurdish state.

Over the last century, despite efforts to safeguard Iraq’s territorial integrity and unity by the Kurds “About 4,500 [Kurdistan] villages were destroyed and we were the target of a chemical attack,” Barzani said, referring to chemical weapons attacks launched by Saddam Hussein’s forces.

Declaring Kurdistan independence would not result in additional political problems but rather “resolve existing ones.”

It is for the Kurdish people to decide on Kurdish statehood, Barzani said when asked if independence has international guarantees.

“A Kurdish state will never be established if we simply wait for it like a gift to be bestowed by the international community.”

By Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from Washington D.C, United States CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Kirkuk is a Kurdish city

As for the status of Kirkuk, Barzani said its history and geography proclaim that Kirkuk is a Kurdish city. He, however, said that “this doesn’t mean it is the sole property of the Kurds.”

Any outcome of a referendum on Kurdistan independence should be respected by all, he continued.

Barzani warned that the defeat of Islamic State (IS) in the war-torn city of Mosul may not be the end of the ultra-hardline group as it may resume its insurgency in another form.

This report prepared by KurdPress International News Agency