Baghdad, Iraq - 25 July 2017
Local EU statement on the referendum announced by the President of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq
Baghdad, Iraq – 24 July 2017 – The European Union Delegation to Iraq issues the following statement in agreement with the EU Heads of Mission in Iraq:
At this critical juncture in Iraqi history, the EU reiterates its steadfast support for Iraq's unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
EU Ministers of Foreign Affairs adopted conclusions on Iraq at the 19 June Foreign Affairs Council and reaffirmed the EU's continued commitment to supporting Iraq, including the Kurdistan Region, in the challenges that lie ahead. Relations between Erbil and Baghdad remain a key component for Iraq's future and were also an important focus of the Council Conclusions.
The EU continues to appreciate the significant contribution that the people of Iraq including in the Kurdistan Region are making in the fight against Da'esh and in hosting refugees and Internally Displaced People (IDP).
The EU considers it essential to pursue a united approach involving all parts of Iraq, in order to rebuild the country and break the cycle of violence and restore stability. It is crucial to avoid any action that creates or exacerbates divisions. The fight against Da'esh and violent extremism unfortunately will not be over even once the military campaign has been brought to a successful close and many other unresolved issues still remain to which a solution can only be found through continued unity and a focus on the common challenges.
The EU urges the Federal Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government to carry forward the excellent cooperation achieved in the military campaign in order to resolve all issues across the political and economic spectrum that remain between them, including the issue of disputed internal boundaries, through a peaceful and constructive dialogue leading to a mutually agreed solution within the framework of the Iraqi Constitution. Constructive engagement between the Federal Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government is in the best interests of both.
The pursuit of political solutions is a shared responsibility of the Federal Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government, which both parties must accept. Unilateral action, such as the referendum scheduled for 25 September 2017, runs counter to the constructive dialogue that is now needed within the parameters of the Iraqi constitution. Actions that do not result from dialogue and agreement between the Kurdistan Regional Government and the Federal Government, expose both of them to additional, unnecessary pressures at this critical time, including regional repercussions, and are therefore counterproductive.
We also encourage all the political parties in the Kurdistan Region to urgently seek a way of overcoming the region's own internal political challenges at this crucial moment and renew their efforts to reach agreement on the political dispute that has led to the suspension of the Kurdistan region's democracy for the past 18 months. The full operation of the Kurdistan Region's elected institutions, in particular the reactivation of its parliament and the holding of elections, is an important prerequisite for stability and for the region's continued political, social and economic development as envisaged in Iraq's programme of reforms.