“The Kurdistan region existed before the Americans came to Iraq and it will continue to exist after they leave.”
The Kurdish President Masud Barzani is on his final phase of his tour following official invitations from Italy, Germany, and Britain. The purpose is to explain the situation in Iraq in general and in the Kurdistan Region in particular, and to encourage investment in Iraq and in the Region, because the security situation is good and because the Region is the secure gate to all Iraq. “We explained the developments of the situation and the future prospects. The nature of the tour is political, economic, and diplomatic.” During President Barzani’s tour of Europe he gave an interview on ASHARQ Al AWSAT by Ma’ad Fayad in London, where the President expressed his feeling on the current situation of the Kurdistan region and its growing impatience with the continues failure of the Iraqi Central Governments to implement Article 140 of the Iraqi Constitution.
The main issues that were expressed by the Kurdish President were the Disputed Area’s, Kirkuk, The oil and gas laws, and the oil resources issue, which are regarded as the core of the political and social tension between the Arabs and the Kurds.
President Barzani made clear his position and stance regarding the disputed areas. “Kirkuk has been the cause of all the problems that the Kurds had with the Iraqi governments. Now we want a solution to the problem, and we do not want to make the problem worse. It is possible to solve this problem according to Article 140 of the Constitution. This is the best solution to the Kirkuk issue. We stress the importance of applying Article 140 to end this problem for good. There can be no stability in Iraq without a solution to the Kirkuk problem.”
President Barzani, renewed his warning against violation of the Iraqi constitution, affirming: "When we agreed to remain within Iraq and contribute to the political process, we did that with the view that we will have a constitution ... This constitution defined the identity of Iraq, which is a federal Iraq." President Barzani said that the time when one person could rule Iraq had gone and that the strength and future of the Kurds lies in a stable federal Iraq.
When the Kurdish President was asked about the relationship between Baghdad Central Government and the Kurdish Regional Government, he said: “We totally reject these circumventions of Article 140. Article 140 of the Constitution says: normalization, census, and referendum. The Kirkuk Governorate people are the ones to decide. If they decide that they want to be part of the Kurdistan Region, we must respect their opinion and choice. If they decide to join another region and if the Kirkuk people decide that their governorate should be independent, we will respect their decision. But, Article 140 must be implemented.”