Middle East News
Kurdish president says Iraqi election results argue for federalism
Feb 12, 2009, 14:46 GMT
Irbil, Iraq - Kurdish President Massoud Barzani, at a joint press conference with Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki on Thursday, said Iraq's provincial council elections proved that federalism was the best political system for Iraq.
The head of the Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region's government told reporters that the regional differences in the results of the January 31 provincial council elections argued for a federalist approach to governing the country.
'The results of the elections proved that the federal system is the best for Iraq, because Shiites won in the south, and Sunnis won in the centre of the country. In the north, the flag of Kurdistan flies. This is the best evidence that the most appropriate system for Iraq is the federal system,' Barzani said.
Iraq's three northern provinces governed by the Kurdish regional government, and Kirkuk, which both Kurds and Arabs covet for its rich oil reserves, did not vote in the January polls.
Barzani also noted the importance of Mottaki's visit as 'the first by an Iranian foreign minister to Kurdistan.'
The Kurdish-speaking region that many Kurds hope will one day comprise an independent Kurdistan straddles areas of Iran, Turkey, Syria, and Iraq.
The status of the Kurdish areas of Iran is a sensitive matter for the Iranian government, and Iranian military forces have often shelled the mountains of northern Iraq in a campaign against Kurdish rebels who take refuge there.
Barzani said that he and Mottaki had discussed 'all dossiers of mutual concern,' including the bombing of the border areas, and expanding economic ties across the border.
In response to a question about the fate of three Iranians still apparently detained after US forces in 2007 raided the Iranian Consulate in Irbil, Barzani said, 'We have made every effort to release them. We will do our best to secure their release.'