MESOP NEWS EXTRA : Iraqi Kurdistan’s ruling parties reach agreement on independence referendum

April 3, 2017 – ARA News – The two ruling parties in Iraqi Kurdistan region, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), have agreed on holding an independence referendum, a Kurdish official said on Sunday.“President Barzani supervised an important meeting between both KDP and PUK politburos. [Independence] Referendum, Kirkuk issue and the relations with Baghdad were discussed,” said Hemin Hawrami, senior assistant to Kurdistan regional president President Masoud Barzani.

“KDP and PUK agreed to form a high-level joint committee for referendum and visit all other parties to work together for Self-0determination,” he added. “KDP and PUK coordinate with political parties and other nations in Kurdistan to set timing and procedures for referendum in a close and appropriate time.”

Moreover, both parties rejected criticism from the Turkish and Iraqi governments calling on the Kurds to remove the Kurdish flag from Kirkuk city, a decision taken by the Kirkuk governor and Kirkuk Provincial Council. “KDP and PUK assessed the flag issue in Kirkuk, affirmed constitutional and legality of raising the Kurdistan flag in Kirkuk. The Iraqi government has failed article 140 [of the Iraqi constitution]. KDP and PUK agreed that all efforts must be united for our referendum and an independent entity, through dialogue with Baghdad,” Hemin Hawrami said.

The governor of Kirkuk, Dr. Najmadin Karim, said that the flag of Kurdistan will not descend from the buildings of government departments in Kirkuk. “The flag of Kurdistan will not come down and the decision taken in Kirkuk is 100% by the province and everyone supported us from the Kurdish blocs and parties,” Karim was quoted by the official PUK website.