ERBIL — The expected “yes” vote in the forthcoming referendum on Kurdistan Region’s independence would not lead to an immediate break from Iraq, a Kurdish official said.
Hoshyar Zebari, former Iraqi Finance and Foreign minister, said the "yes" vote in the independence referendum would strengthen Kurdistan's hand in talks with Baghdad rather than leading to an automatic break from Iraq, the official explained as reported by Reuters.
Zebari, who is a member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) politburo, also stated that a vote for secession would not mean the Kurds annexed either the oil-rich region of Kirkuk or other Kurdistan’s areas outside the Kurdistan Region’s administration.
"You will hear people saying we are for Iraq’s unity, territorial integrity, we want dialogue between Baghdad and Erbil, we understand all this," he said.
"A referendum is a democratic process,” Zebari said, arguing that “no democratic country can oppose having a referendum; we are not talking about independence, we are talking about the referendum."
In a meeting chaired by Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani on Wednesday, the political parties set September 25th, 2017 as the date for the referendum on Kurdistan Region independence.