Bargaining on a referendum in Kurdistan: US pressure to postpone it and Kurdish conditions to discuss the proposal


Bargaining on the Kurdistan referendum: American pressure to postpone it and Kurdish conditions

Baghdad Aktham Saif al – Din

13 August 2017

The file of the referendum on the secession of the Kurdistan region from Iraq scheduled next month, a new phase, with the start of a US move to postpone it, which was met by officials of the Territory to request “alternatives” and “guarantees”, which appears to be in other files carried by a Kurdish delegation to Baghdad during In light of the escalation of the Iraqi government rhetoric and refusal to recognize the outcome of the referendum in return for confirmation of its openness to dialogue.
Barzani asked for alternatives to meet Washington’s desire to postpone the referendum on secession

Washington began a public move to pressure the Kurdistan authorities to postpone the referendum scheduled for September 25, by telephone by US Secretary of State Rex Tilerson, the President of the province Massoud Barzani. 

The presidency of the region in a statement, that Barzani asked for “guarantees” and “alternatives” to meet Washington’s desire to postpone the referendum on secession, stressing that “the people of Kurdistan will go on its way and decide its fate.”
The statement said that Tilerson telephoned Barzani, expressing Washington’s desire to postpone the referendum and “support the continuation of talks and negotiations between the region and Baghdad.”
The statement pointed out that Tilerson “praised the role of the Peshmerga forces in the elimination of the preacher ,” and welcomed the role of Barzani and the Kurdish political leadership and “the decision to form a high-level delegation from the region to Baghdad to negotiate with them on political matters.”
In this context, Barzani said that a delegation from the region “will visit Baghdad soon to discuss issues concerning the future of relations.”
“What guarantees can be offered to the people of Kurdistan in return for postponing the referendum, and what alternatives will replace the self-determination of the people of Kurdistan?” Barzani asked.
Barzani said that “the partnership and peaceful coexistence, which was the main objective of Kurdistan with Iraq in the successive historical stages experienced by the two parties did not materialize, so the people of Kurdistan will go its way and decide its fate.”
“The date (of the referendum) as of September 25 has not changed,” said Hoshyar Zebari, a senior member of the Supreme Council for the Referendum, Barzani adviser Hoshyar Zebari, as saying in response to Tillerson’s request. .

Public adherence to the date of the referendum may not be final, especially if US pressure succeeds in reaching a settlement that leads to postponement and ensure the fulfillment of a number of Kurdish demands.

 A Kurdish official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the “New Arab” that “Tillerson asked Barzani to postpone the date of the referendum until the completion of the liberation of Iraqi land from the dailies.”
The official said that “Barzani confirmed to Wilson that he will discuss the postponement of the date of the referendum and take the appropriate decision on it,” adding that “Tillerson promised to work Washington to resolve the dispute between Erbil and Baghdad to ensure the rights of both parties.”
The official stressed that “the Kurdish side does not insist on this date, it is not a sacred date, but we want guarantees of our rights exceeded by successive governments in Baghdad,” adding that “the Kurdish people are pressing for access to their rights.”
For his part, MP from the “Democratic Party of Kurdistan”, Renas Jano, the “new Arab”, that Tilerson’s contact with the President of the Kurdistan region was not to discuss the referendum only, but the referendum was among the themes discussed by the two men.
“It is likely that Baghdad will be the one that asked the American side to intervene to put pressure on Barzani to postpone the date of the referendum,” he said, adding that “this does not mean that the region has no opinion on that.”
He stressed that “Washington and all parties have not shown their opposition to the referendum and the subject of the right of self-determination of the Kurds, but the opposition is only about timing,” noting that “the presidency of the region believes that this timing is very appropriate.”
 He pointed out that “Barzani did not make any promises to Talerson on the postponement of the date or not, and we are waiting for the Kurdish delegation, which will visit Baghdad in a few days, and will discuss the subject with a number of other outstanding topics.”

This development precedes the visit of the Kurdish delegation to Baghdad, which “carries in its package a lot of outstanding issues between the two parties, which are waiting for solutions from the government of Baghdad, the most important file of the referendum,” according to the MP, “the Kurdistan Alliance,” Abdul Qadir Mohammed, “the Arab the new”.

According to Mohammed, “of the other outstanding issues to be discussed by the delegation in Baghdad, the disputed areas, which set a time limit, but the Baghdad government exceeded the ceiling has not resolved the file so far, and the file of Arab settlers sent by the federal government to the Kurdish areas, and the need to compensate the federal government for them To return to their areas, and compensation of displaced Kurds, which is also limited by a time limit, but the government did not implement any paragraph of them.
He added that among those files also file what he called “land seized by the federal government in the villages and Kurdish areas, and return the land to their owners,” stressing that “all these files are stuck between the parties, and there are a number of differences on them, and the Government of Baghdad is slowing down And put obstacles in the face of their implementation, trying to pass the time to win the dispute in their favor, “stressing that” we did not find any response by the Government of Baghdad to resolve all these files. “
He pointed out that “these files are subject to discussion, and as a result if Baghdad wants to reach a solution, it is in its own hand, it must take the steps of a genuine democracy for the solution,” adding: “We did not see any seriousness by the government of Abadi to resolve these files, and we are optimistic about resolving.”

The Iraqi government: Any solution with Kurdistan must be in accordance with the Constitution, which does not permit the holding of the referendum

And with the announcement of the Kurdistan Government’s intention to send a delegation to Baghdad, and talk about its adherence to the referendum, I met Baghdad by escalating the tone on the dialogue expected, stressing that “any solution with the Kurdistan region must be in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, which does not permit the holding of the referendum.”

Saad al-Hadithi, a spokesman for the office of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, said in a televised statement that “the position of the government towards the referendum is firm and frank and has not changed, that we are with serious dialogue with the region to overcome the controversial issues in the event it coincided with the text of the Constitution and adapted to its general provisions in the interest of The supreme state of the country and preserve its unity. “
“Iraq is one democratic federal country. The constitution is a guarantor of the unity of Iraq and we are ready for dialogue, but we need to go beyond unilateral decisions imposed by one side over another, because these unacceptable solutions do not lead to the stability of the country,” he said.
He stressed that “the Constitution in any case does not give any legal basis for any party in Iraq to hold a referendum for self-determination and separation, and certainly any action and any referendum may be contrary to the Constitution and illegal, and therefore we do not recognize this referendum and its consequences if it happened.”
The Kurdish delegation was due to arrive in Baghdad last week, while its visit was postponed, at a time when observers stressed the futility of dialogue because of the escalation of the dispute and the tense statements between the parties, which threatens a new crisis.
“The relationship between Baghdad and Erbil is at stake, and this new page of dialogue will open a page of crises between the two parties,” said political expert Naeem al-Awadi. “The crisis has preceded dialogue. We see and hear the accusations being dropped between the parties, And each of them accuses the other of violating the Constitution, which threatens a new crisis.
He pointed out that “the disagreement, the lack of access to the delegation last week raises many questions about the reasons that hindered his arrival, and raises questions about the possibility of sending a delegation this week,” stressing that “the dispute will affect a lot on electoral alliances and the files of Kirkuk and Mosul, And the war on the preacher. “

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