ERBIL — The ruling by Iraq’s Supreme Court to cancel Kurdistan Region’s planned referendum on its independence, will have no impact on Erbil’s decision to proceed with the move, said a senior Kurdish diplomat.
“We don’t have the feeling that there is a judiciary system in this country that’s functioning in order to protect the law, order and also rights,” said Fallah Mustafa, the Head of Kurdistan Region’s Department of Foreign Relations.
“This decision in no way will affect the region of Kurdistan, the feelings of the people of Kurdistan or the leadership,” he told The WSJ on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Concerning a proposed “alternative” by the international community to convince Kurdistan Region to put off the referendum, Mustafa said it fell short of Erbil’s demands.
“There have been some papers forwarded but they have not been to the level of our expectation, nor what we wanted to get,” Mustafa said. “We have been approached by the United States, the United Kingdom, the United Nations and other countries in the neighborhood, but still we are not there.”
“We are not ready to go back to the old formula,” he said. “We are not ready to go back to pre-ISIS Iraq. It has failed, and we are not to be blamed for it. Baghdad is to be blamed for it.”
The Kurdish official further explained that Kurdistan Region seeks “a clear statement [by the international community] about the right to self determination and the right of our nation to be independent in the future”.
Commenting on the remarks by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi who recently said that they will consider using the military if the referendum leads to violence, Mustafa said, “We don’t believe that Prime Minister Abadi means it, because we hope that the days when the army is used to sort out critical differences are over.”