In a statement to mark the occasion of Newroz, the Kurdish New Year, Barzani said the people of Kurdistan have always been struggling for their legitimate rights through peaceful means.
He said the struggle of the people of Kurdistan has been ongoing since ancient times, adding that “our people never chose to resort to violence in its struggle except for self-defense, and this is a legitimate right.”
“At all times and stages [of history], our people have expressed their desire to solve the problems through peace and away from violence and have succeeded at peace in all opportunities,” Barzani stated.
Historic Independence Referendum
Regarding the independence referendum that was held on Sep.
25 last year, Barzani noted that officials in the Kurdistan Region had “repeatedly stressed that the goal [of the referendum] was peace and a radical solution to the problems,” adding that it was “a legitimate right for the people of Kurdistan, and no one can take it away.”
The people of Kurdistan did not commit a crime or a wrong for voting in the plebiscite, Barzani said, stating that “if the partnership [between Erbil and Baghdad] and the constitution were respected, the Iraqi situation would be much better now, and the problems would be less.”
Barzani explained that the Iraqi parties were initially very open to the legitimate rights of the people of Kurdistan, and were sympathetic to their good and peaceful intentions.
However, according to the former President, some Iraqi parties exploited the rights of the people of Kurdistan “for political ends and responded to the voice of the people of Kurdistan with siege, pressure, and power.”
Conflict in Kirkuk
Regarding the situation in Kirkuk and other Kurdistani areas outside of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) administration, Barzani said the current situation, which was a result of “treason and the imposition of force, cannot continue and become a reality.”
Barzani also called for necessary measures to be taken against the random kidnappings and killings, especially in Tuz Khurmatu.
“The main guarantee of the rights of our people is achieved [through unity] under the umbrella of the supreme and common interests of our people,” he explained.
Developments in Afrin
Commenting on the situation in Afrin, Barzani expressed concerns over the recent developments in the Kurdish enclave that has put hundreds of lives and the stability of the people at risk.
Barzani called for an end to the inhumane actions in Afrin targeting the civilian population, including women and children.
The senior Kurdish leader said he hoped the killings and displacement would end and stressed that peace and political means are the only ways to address the problems.
Barzani also called on the Syrian Kurdish parties to unite “to ensure that their political and national rights are guaranteed by peaceful means and that all parties respect the rights of the Kurdish people in Syria.”
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany
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