President Masoud Barzani delivered his remarks after the Kurdistan Independence Referendum which was held yesterday across the Kurdistan Region and areas outside the administration of the Kurdistan Region. President Barzani began his remarks by expressing his appreciation to the people of Kurdistan for showing the world that the will of the people of Kurdistan and that they can determine their own destiny. The President also commended the voters for having voted in a celebratory manner and stated that such actions were a message to the martyred men and women of the Kurdistan Region who paid the ultimate price in pursuit of liberty and dignity for all of Kurdistan.
The President said that the “yes” vote was directed at independence and it was at the same time a “no” to genocide and oppression from which the people of Kurdistan have suffered.
The referendum, President Barzani said is not in any way a violation of any law including the Iraqi Constitution. He made reference to the Constitution’s preamble which clearly states that adherence to that text is a prerequisite to Iraq’s union. The people of Kurdistan, President Barzani stated exercised their legitimate right yesterday and hence entered a new stage. The President said that we cannot be blamed because the Kurdistan Region did all that it could to preserve Iraq’s union.
The President called upon the government officials of Baghdad to seriously and calmly review the history of our bilateral relations. In spite of all that the people of the Kurdistan Region have experienced bitter stages of that relationship, they still have continuously negotiated with Baghdad. He added that it is illogical to view the votes of millions of people as “illegitimate.”
To get to a brighter future and for the pursuit of mutual benefit for both the people of Kurdistan and Iraq, the President said we should resort to serious series of dialogues. The referendum, the President repeated was not to draw any borders between Iraq and Kurdistan, rather it was so that the people of Kurdistan can democratically express their stance on their own destiny.
As for the other neighboring countries, the President stated that we do not wish for any obstacles to be created. It is rather expected of them to seriously find solutions to the issues between Erbil and Baghdad.
We also reassure the international community, the President stated that we are immediately ready to engage in negotiations on independence with Baghdad. He also stressed on the Kurdistan Region’s willingness to continue to become an effective partner in the global effort to eradicate the terrorists.