UN: Kurdistan does not immediately declare independence after referendum

The UN Special Envoy to Iraq, Ján Kubiš, has told a Security Council meeting in New York on Monday that the Kurdistan Region does not seek to declare independence following the much-anticipated independence referendum to be held in 2017. Additionally, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says Kurdish President Masoud Barzani in March expressed "the intention to hold a referendum on the status of the region in 2017."

Addressing the Security Council on the situation in Iraq, Kubiš said that the lack of dialogue and progress between Erbil and Baghdad, especially with respect to the functioning of the federal system and the future of disputed areas claimed by both governments, is expected to create more problems.

He said that senior officials from the Kurdish region have expressed their willingness to hold the independence referendum in 2017.

“Senior officials in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq have declared the intention to hold in 2017 referendum on the future status of the region. They stressed the objective of the plebiscite would be show to the world the will of the people rather than to immediately declare independence,” Kubiš said.

Barzani informed Guterres on March 30 in Erbil that the Kurdish government will hold the referendum “at the earliest time.”

The Kurdistan presidency confirmed in a statement then that the issue had been raised during the meeting.

“About the future of Kurdistan Region President Barzani emphasized that in the near future, a referendum will be held so that the world will be aware of the wish and the decision of the people of Kurdistan regarding its future,” read a statement issued by the Kurdish presidency at the time.

The UN Security Council was briefed on the meeting between Barzani and Guterres.

"On 30 March, during my visit to Erbil, President Barzani stated the intention to hold a referendum on the status of the region in 2017. He added that while the aim was not to immediately declare independence, the result would show the world the will of the people," read the quarterly Secretary-General report to the UN Security Council.

Rudaw's Majeed Gly spoke with Kubis after the session about what to expect after ISIS is militarily defeated in Mosul.