U.S. Not Aware Of Alternative Presented By Mcgurk to Kurdish Referendum - State Dept
The U.S. State Department Spokeswoman, Heather Nauert said on Thursday (September 14) that she is not aware of an alternative presented by her country, U.K. and U.N. in place of an independence referendum planned by the Kurdistan Region.
“I’m not aware of that. I believe that Brett McGurk is still over there in the region, and I’m just not aware of what meetings he had and what came up in those conversations,” Nauert said when asked by reporters about details of the alterative during a press conference.
U.S. Special Presidential Envoy to the Coalition Brett McGurk said on Thursday that during a meeting with Masoud Barzani in Duhok, he reiterated his country’s opposition for a referendum on the Kurdistan independence.
McGurk said that along with representative from the U.N., and U.K. they have presented an “alternative path” to the Kurdish referendum that is planned to be held on Sept. 25, without giving further details.
The U.S. State Department Spokeswoman, Heather Nauert said “we don’t support the planned Kurdish referendum on September 25th because we feel that that takes the eye off the ball of [Islamic State] and that we should all remain focused on ISIS.”
During a meeting with Barzani, an alternative was presented by United Nations, United States and U.K. seeking the postponement of the referendum on the Kurdistan independence.
The Kurdish presidency issued a statement following the meeting saying “We will discuss the subject [the alternative] with Kurdish political leadership and announce our response in this regard in near future.”
Kurds are set to hold the referendum on September 25 but Baghdad opposes it, with lawmakers voting to reject it. Iraq's neighbors, Turkey, Iran and Syria, also oppose the referendum, fearing it could fan separatism among their own ethnic Kurdish populations.
The United States and Western nations fear the referendum could lead to conflicts with Baghdad and neighboring Turkey and Iran, which host sizeable Kurdish populations, diverting attention from the fight against ISIS militants in Iraq and Syria.