US Won’t Leave Kurdistan People Alone: Kurdish Leader – Kurdistan will run independence referendum in 2017, says KSDP leader

Leyla Hemid – BasNews 04/04/2017 – ERBIL — Kurdistan Socialist Democratic Party (KSDP) leader, Mohammed Haji Mahmud, said that Kurdistan Region will hold the referendum of independence in 2017 and Erbil will negotiate with Baghdad over the mechanism of retaining ties after the referendum results are declared.

In an interview with the London-based Arabic Sharq al-Awsat paper which was published on Tuesday, Mahmud said that during the meetings with the Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi’s administration and all the other parties in Baghdad, they noticed no opposition from Baghdad over the right of self-determination for Kurdistan.

“However, some of those parties had comments about the timing and mechanism of the referendum and [stressed] the decision should be in the interest of all parties,” said Mahmud.

KSDP leader has been leading the frontlines of Peshmerga against the Islamic State (IS) jihadists since 2014 and accompanied Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani in most of his visits abroad.As stated by Mahmud, in all the meetings in Munich Security Conference (which began on February 17), the Kurdish delegation stressed they ” will not return to the phase before IS [occupation of Mosul], as returning to that era will lead to the creation of other terrorist organizations.”Commenting on the US stance over holding the referendum in Kurdistan, Mahmud said “Every nation should seek their rights and not expect others to offer them their rights on a golden tray.”

“President [Donald] Trump’s administration and his officials are close friends to Kurds who have deep-rooted and strong relations with the Kurdish people, Kurdish leadership and political parties in Kurdistan…. All those officials reiterated their support for Kurdistan and told us that they will never leave Kurdish people alone and will continue supporting Kurds.”

Asked about his expectations for the results of the referendum, Mahmud said “I’m confident that it will be successful but afterwards, there should be negotiations with the neighboring states and those states friendly with Kurds.”He continued by saying that for 26 years, Kurdistan Region has acted as a semi-autonomous region “and we did not pose any threat against any neighboring countries, rather we became a place for investment and development either for Iran or for Turkey and contributed to their economic growth.”