ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – The Kurdistan Region President recently stated he would declare independence the moment the former Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki resumed power.
In an interview with Sharq al-Awsat in Davos, Switzerland, Masoud Barzani, the Kurdistan Region President, said he could not “accept staying within an Iraq ruled by Maliki.”
Maliki has often been internationally criticized for his divisive politics and sectarian tendencies.
Current Iraqi Vice-President Maliki was Prime Minister when Islamic State (IS) extremists occupied one-third of the country in mid-2014.
Moreover, during his post as PM in early 2014, Maliki cut the Kurdistan Region’s 17 percent share of the Iraqi national budget, including the salaries of the Region’s civil servants.
President Barzani added Finance Minister Hoshyar Zebari was sacked as part of a scheme to overthrow Haider al-Abadi’s cabinet and foil the Mosul operation in an attempt to bring Maliki back to power.
Asked about the remarks by some of the Shia militia officials against the Region, President Barzani explained he wanted to move on from war.
“We want to turn the page of war and instead focus on development and improving people’s lives,” he stated.
“The remarks are worrying, and anyone who assaults the Region will get a definitive response,” President Barzani continued. “We hope we do not reach such a stage.”
Regarding the US’ new administration, President Barzani said he expects President Donald Trump to support the Kurds.
“There is a good relation with the new administration, and we know the cabinet members, and they are familiar with the situation here [in the Kurdistan Region],” President Barzani explained.
Regarding the latest offensive to oust IS extremists, the President said the achievements during the Mosul operation were a large blow against the insurgents.
He also revealed Peshmerga losses since the beginning of the war against IS were 1,668 martyrs, and 9,725 wounded.