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Barzani to Iraqis: Referendum Will Strengthen our Brotherhood | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Gearing up for the upcoming referendum on independence with posters of Iraqi Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani in Irbil, capital of the autonomous Kurdish region. (AFP)

Irbil – Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani sought on Sunday to comfort the Iraqi people by saying that the September 25 referendum on independence would not affect the values of coexistence and brotherhood between the people of Kurdistan and Iraq

He asserted that the vote would strengthen Kurdistan’s friendship with its neighbors.

He said that in the past 100 years, Kurdistan suffered from the rule of oppressive regimes and Iraqi governments that helped ruin that national unity and coexistence between the two people.

“We know that Iraqi nationals became victims at the hands of Iraqi dictatorship regimes,” a statement from Barzani read on Sunday.

In the statement addressed to Iraq, the President said that “in order to establish total peace and to stay away from wars, the people of Kurdistan chose to hold the referendum and decide their fate towards independence.”

According to Barzani, the referendum “will not affect the continued friendship and brotherhood between the Kurdistan and Iraq nations,” but rather deepen and strengthen it.

He added: “We call upon the people of Kurdistan to consider the high values of our nation and the historical culture of brotherhood and coexistence between the religious and ethnic components when they express their will and rights.”

Meanwhile, around 200 armed members from the Asa’eb ahl al-Hak linked to the Popular Mobilization Forces attacked buildings in the Mandali city in the Diyala province after the local government voted to join the independence referendum.

Adnan Mansour, an official at the Kurdistan Democratic Party in the province of Khanaqin told Asharq Al-Awsat that what happened in Diyala is “a military coup against the constitution and law.”

The Kurdistan Region’s upcoming referendum on independence is seen by several regional and international parties as an “imminent threat.”