By John Lee.
Bloomberg reports that Iraqi Kurdistan will keep Peshmerga troops in the nearby oil hub of Kirkuk until people there can vote on whether to join the Kurdish enclave.
Safeen Dizayee (pictured), spokesman of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), said:
“As a people, we have the right to be independent, but the issue is up to the Kurdish people, to be decided upon via a referendum ...
“We now have arrived at a new reality. If the Kurdish people, through referendum, were to opt for complete independence, we want it to be done through negotiations with Baghdad, like what happened in Czechoslovakia.”
Meanwhile, Baghdad said any referendum the Kurds may hold, whether to determine the future of Kirkuk or to declare independence for the Kurdish region itself, would be unlawful. Ali al-Moussawi, media adviser to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, told Bloomberg:
“The government doesn’t accept anything outside the constitutional way, which was voted on by the Kurds ... If they do this, it would be unilateral and unconstitutional.”