Iraq: Security Council voices concern over planned referendum in Kurdistan Region

A Kurdish fighter on a frontline in Kirkuk province, northern Iraq, is 300 metres away from an Islamic State position. The flag of Kurdistan is behind him. Photo: Martyn Aim/IRIN

21 September 2017 – The United Nations Security Council today expressed concern over the “potentially destabilizing impact” of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s plans to unilaterally hold a referendum next week.

In a statement issued to the press, members of the Council noted that the planned referendum is scheduled to be held while operations to counter Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) – in which Kurdish forces have played a critical role – are ongoing.

The referendum “could detract from efforts to ensure the safe, voluntary return of over three million refugees and internally displaced persons,” the 15-member body added.

Secretary-General António Guterres earlier this week voiced similar concerns about the timing of the vote in a statement issued by his Spokesman, which noted that all outstanding issues between the federal Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government should be resolved through structured dialogue and constructive compromise.

“The Secretary-General calls upon the leaders across Iraq to approach this matter with patience and restraint. The United Nations stands ready to support such efforts.”


News Tracker: past stories on this issue

World must focus on dual task of defeating ISIL, rebuilding Iraq, UN envoy tells Security Council

Related Stories