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President Barzani's Statement on the Situation of Kurdistan Region Border Areas

WED, 24 AUG 2011 00:03 | Kurdistan Presidency

Salahaddin, Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRP.org) - Following the recent escalation of violence and bombardment of Kurdistan Region border areas by both Turkey and Iran, which have casued the death of 7 civilians, President Barzani today issued a statement calling on all sides to abandon violence and spare the Kurdistan Region. The following is the English translation of the statement by the President:

Dear People of Kurdistan,

As you know, the situation in the Kurdistan Region’s border areas has deteriorated, causing our people to face daily Iranian and Turkish bombardment and aerial attacks.

These attacks have inflicted great suffering on our people in the border areas, leaving some dead and injured. They have intensified in recent days to the point that we can no longer remain silent and watch our innocent, vulnerable civilians pay the price of this fight.

The presence of armed PJAK and PKK members in the mountainous border areas provides an excuse for our two neighbouring countries to commit these attacks. The continuation of their actions, the use of violence, and the use of Kurdistan Region border areas as bases will lead to the spread of violence to the Kurdistan Region and this will not in any way help the legitimate Kurdish question. It is unfortunate that no consideration is given to the interests and welfare of the people of the Kurdistan Region.

It has been our policy all along, and we reiterate again, that the Kurdistan Region aspires to develop friendly and good neighbourly relations with all sides, and it has never been involved in the internal problems of these two countries. We would never interfere in the internal affairs of any country. However, we can not remain silent when our innocent citizens are being killed.

As the Kurdistan Region, we deplore the shedding of innocent blood. We believe that dialogue and mutual understanding are keys to resolving all problems. In the past, we never spared any effort to resolve these issues through dialogue and always advocated for the pursuit of peaceful means by all sides. Unfortunately, the situation has once again become complicated.

In some point in our history, we resorted to armed struggle to defend our land, to obtain our rights, and to protect the dignity of our people. With our resolve and with the backing of our people, we managed to preserve our existence and identity. But today is different. In today’s world, the language of dialogue is far more effective than fighting and military action. We have spared no efforts to spread this message.

Our goal has always been the provision of prosperity for our people and maintaining the stability of our Region. We would never do anything to jeopardize the prosperity and stability of our Region, whatever the circumstances. Therefore, we request that the interests of the people of the Kurdistan Region be observed. The achievements made by our people are the result of hard work and great sacrifices, and it is incumbent on every Kurd to be proud of these achievements and to protect them.

It must be clear to the people of the Kurdistan Region that military action along the border areas gives an excuse to both countries to openly conduct their own military actions in the Kurdistan Region. The main victims of these bombardments and military actions are the people of the Kurdistan Region. I am certain that fighting and violence will not lead to any resolution. At the end of the day, peaceful means must be pursued. The sooner this fighting ends the better; however, if the opposing factions have chosen and insist on the option of fighting, we ask all sides to do their fighting elsewhere and spare the Kurdistan Region.

We are prepared for any cooperation to return the situation to normalcy through dialogue and peaceful means. At the same time, we call on the Iraqi federal government to use its diplomatic channels with our two neighbouring countries to bring these attacks to an end and protect the sovereignty of Iraq.

In light of this delicate situation, I ask the Iraqi Kurdistan Parliament to comprehensively study this situation and then formulate a policy that reflects the unanimous view of the Kurdistan Region.

Masoud Barzani
President of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq