Foreign Minister Gabriel on the announcement of a referendum on independence by Kurds in northern Iraq

08.06.2017 - Press release

During a visit to Tripoli, Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel issued the following statement today (8 June) on the announcement by the government of the Region of Kurdistan-Iraq to hold a referendum on independence on 25 September.

I was deeply concerned to learn of yesterday’s announcement by the government of the Region of Kurdistan-Iraq regarding a referendum on independence.

We can only warn against taking one‑sided action concerning this matter.

Calling the unity of Iraq into question, or even wanting to redraw national boundaries, is not the right path. This would only exacerbate an already difficult and unstable situation, both in Erbil and in Baghdad.

I call on all sides to engage in dialogue, settle issues by mutual agreement, and in particular stop aggravating conflicts, above all in the territories that are disputed between Erbil and Baghdad.

The fight against ISIS has not yet been won. It is only through joint action that we will be able to successfully take the next and maybe most significant steps, as well as tackle the challenges we now face. Without willingness to cooperate, or by working against one another, these important tasks cannot be accomplished. This must not be carelessly put at risk now.

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