The 93 percent Yes vote on a high turnout demonstrates the settled will of the Kurdistani people for eventual independence. The high vote follows years of broken promises by leaders in Baghdad who have done little to persuade the Kurds they are respected and valued. The outbreak in Baghdad of belligerent bullying and a probable blockade is further evidence of that. Kurdistani leaders of all persuasions have told us they will not be subordinates in Iraq and that the referendum is a mandate to negotiate a new settlement with Baghdad over years rather than UDI, and does not diminish their contribution to fighting Daesh. We agree with the British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson that all parties should remain calm and we welcome his statement that the UK is ready to help. We will report back our observations on the process of the referendum, which we witnessed in Erbil, Kirkuk and Slemani, and its ramifications to parliament with a view to encouraging bipartisan support for dialogue. We also aim to visit Baghdad to listen to their views and convey our understanding of Kurdistani concerns. We are anxious to maintain the UK’s good relations with Kurdistan which is a valued ally and shares our values of freedom, democracy and pluralism.
Jack Lopresti MP, Chairman All Party Parliamentary Group on the Kurdistan Region
Gary Kent, Director
Erbil, Kurdistan Region
28 September 2017