President of the Kurdistan Region Masoud Barzani has called on Kurdish political parties to come together to discuss and find away for holding a referendum on independence, stressing that the Kurds should not miss this opportunity.
“I would call on all political parties to meet and decide the necessary future steps and to establish a national consensus on the referendum and independence,” Masoud Barzani said in a statement on Thursday, adding that “the first step would be to start frank and brotherly talks with Baghdad.”
The Kurdish president has long defended the right of his people to an independent state and described critics of an independence referendum as unfair.
“The region has entered a new phase and big changes are taking place. The Kurdish nation and its experiences are witnessing a sensitive and fateful era. We cannot miss the opportunity that has arisen for our people this time,” Barzani said.
Our nation today has a bright status in the international arena, said Barzani.
“For us in this stage no goal is higher or more sacred than to decide on national rights and our fate and we should not let this opportunity fall victim to internal differences,” he added.
The Kurdistan Presidency Council will reportedly contact the political parties to set up the meeting though no timeline was mentioned in Barzani’s statement.
In his statement, Barzani also addressed the latest military developments against the Islamic State militants (ISIS) and praised the role of the Peshmerga forces, who are the most effective ground force.
“Great successes have been achieved in the war against ISIS and the terrorists they suffered big losses,” he said. “All the successes were made by the sacrifice of the Peshmerga forces, our people’s perseverance and coalition support.”
But, despite all the achievements in the anti-terror campaign, the ISIS threat still remains, he warned.