Pres­i­dent Barzani: Kur­dish in­de­pen­dence still valid

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS -

The Amer­i­can PBS tele­vi­sion in­ter­viewed Pres­i­dent of the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion, Ma­soud Barzani, about fight­ing the Is­lamic State in Iraq, as­sis­tance from the U.S. and on­go­ing ef­forts to es­tab­lish an in­de­pen­dent Kur­dis­tan.

Asked about Kur­dish as­pi­ra­tions of in­de­pen­dence, he said there would be no “retreat from it,” but that the process would be peace­ful.

“The con­flict de­layed this process but the process is still valid,” he told PBS. “We are not go­ing to aban­don it. We are go­ing to do it through dia­logue. We are go­ing to talk to Bagh­dad about it,” the pres­i­dent added.

He stressed that the process would be mea­sured: “We need to study, we need to use wis­dom, we need to be united; we can’t use force, we can­not shed any blood.”

“We are sat­is­fied with the air sup­port,” said Barzani, re­fer­ring to air strikes by US-led coali­tion forces in sup­port of Pesh­merga forces on the ground.

“We are get­ting good sup­port, but in re­al­ity and to this present mo­ment we have the same view as in the past on arm­ing and equip­ping the Pesh­merga forces with the right weapons: it is not to the stan­dard that we want,” he said.

Asked whether the Kurds were wor­ried about Ira­nian in­volve­ment in the fight against ISIS along­side the Bagh­dad-backed Shi­ite mili­tia, Barzani said that any­one fight­ing the rad­i­cal group is con­sid- ered an ally.

“We have a prin­ci­ple: wher­ever we can strike ISIS we are not go­ing to hold back,” he said. “Who­ever will take part and help us attack ISIS we will thank them. Right now I do not share that con­cern -- if you are ask­ing me about help­ing to fight and de­feat ISIS. What hap­pens af­ter that we can’t pre­dict.”

The Kur­dish pres­i­dent told PBS spe­cial cor­re­spon­dent Jane Ar­raf that the Pesh­merga forces are will­ing to as­sist any Iraqi force in the fight for Mo­sul, but that the Kurds would not go at it alone.

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