As Massoud Barzani, President of the Kurdistan region of Iraq announced to hold a referendum on the “separation” from Iraq, on 25th of the last September, and due to the serious political and security implications that would result from that referendum, Emmanuel McCron “French President has sought since that declaration to bring views closer between the political parties in Iraq through the meeting with Iraqi national figures keen on the unity of Iraq. French diplomacy sought through its president to cancel the referendum in order to preserve Iraq’s unity without ignoring the historical rights of Kurds. For this reason, French diplomacy has been active through its ambassador in Iraq, who has contacted Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abbadi and Massoud Barzani to bring the views closer and encircle the political crisis that will occur if the Kurds are to hold the referendum on schedule. He also met with the US and British ambassador to Iraq to take a clear position on the referendum process.
Despite the international, regional, and Arab positions that expressed support for the unity of Iraq and its rejection of the referendum on the secession of the Kurdistan region, the referendum was held on schedule. The Independent Electoral Commission for the elections and the referendum in the Kurdistan Region announced on Wednesday the official results of the referendum on the independence of Kurdistan, That the percentage of those who voted (yes) reached 92.73%, while the percentage of votes (not) 7.27%.The announcement of these results did not prevent French President Emmanuel Macaron from stressing “the importance of the unity and territorial integrity of Iraq while recognizing the rights of the Kurdish people,” expressing his readiness to help ease the tension between the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan region of Iraq after the referendum on secession. In a statement following a telephone conversation with Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi, McCron said that “the Iraqis must remain united , “stressing that the priority is “fighting ISIS and stability of Iraq.” While urging all parties to “avoid any escalation and remain united,” the French president expressed his country’s readiness to provide support in order to prevent the sustainability of the tension between Baghdad and Erbil, calling on Abadi to “respect the rights of the Kurds.” In order to find a solution to the crisis arising from the referendum, Macron called Abbadi for a visit to Paris on October 5, a call was accepted by Abadi, according to the office of the French president.
According to special information obtained by the Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies , Macron will present to Haider Abadi a political initiative based on the method of in-depth dialogue between Baghdad and Kurdistan to contain the political crisis that escalated after the referendum. For his part, Abadi will inform Makron that the path towards positive dialogue with the Kurds starts from canceling the referendum and its results and according to this information also, Macaron after meeting Abadi, he will meet Barzani. With this French initiative, all the French circles are going to make it a success by meeting with Iraqi and Kurdish figures who believe in the unity of Iraq and preserve the Kurdish political, economic, cultural and social rights.
Effective French diplomacy can be understood to solve the current crisis between the Iraqi government and the KRG within the framework of its ability to play the role of positive mediator in a world of turmoil and division and that its diplomacy is based on cooperation with the parties of political crisis to resolve it, especially if its parties have historical ties like the Kurds of Iraq so by solving it, it will benefit all parties Including the mediator. The conviction will be confirmed that France is a leading country in Europe capable of resolving a political crisis by diplomatic means in a country with significant strategic weight in the Middle East, Iraq.
Iraqi Studies Unit
Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies