Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Massoud Barzani stated that his administration will persist in its aim to hold a referendum in northern Iraq for independence.
“We believe that peoples in our region should have a chance to decide on their future by holding a referendum and everybody needs to respect its results accordingly,” Barzani said during a meeting with diplomats from 36 countries in the regional capital Erbil city on Jan 6.
“We insist on holding a referendum because the world needs to know about what the people of Kurdistan wants and how it will decide on its future,” Barzani stressed according to a written statement released on the KRG’s official website.
The mentioned referendum will “be held at a particular time which is convenient, peaceful, and far away from violence,” he added.
Barzani has also touched upon the conditions in the region indicating that “People in the region have been going through a terrible phase. Another phase which will supposedly begin following the recapture of Mosul from DAESH terrorist organisation is enormously important.”
“Peoples should feel secure about their future and critical measures should be taken up in order to prevent the same disaster [emergence of a threat like DAESH] happening again [in the region],” he pointed out.
Furthermore, Barzani drew attention to the escalating tension in the region concerning sectarian strife saying that “the issue is signifying a dangerous development.”
However, people, who are living under the KRG, have no such problem and are not part of a sectarian based-conflict at all, he stated.
“In order to strengthen peace among people, we need to keep ourselves away from sectarian strife. If the countries insist on the aforementioned conflicts, then, even a more dangerous entity could emerge [in the region] following DAESH,” the KRG president asserted.
Saudi Arabia executed Nimr al Nimr, a prominent Shiite cleric, last weekend along with 46 others on terrorism charges, prompting violent protests in Iran against Saudi diplomatic missions in the country.
Saudis and Iranians have opposing political stances in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon, and Bahrain where Iran, the Shiite powerhouse of the Middle East, supports Shiite-aligned governments and groups against Sunni opposition groups or governments.
Iran has a majority Shiite population while Saudi Arabia's population is mostly Sunni.
Iraq’s Kurds including Barzani are mostly Sunni although northern Iraq has a mixed population.