World Bulletin / News Desk
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called on Wednesday for Iraqi Kurds to participate in the formation of a new Iraqi government, according to State department spokesperson Jen Psaki.
Kerry met with a delegation from northern Iraq's autonomous Kurdish Regional Government in Washington for discussions about Iraq's security, which has been rocked by rebel group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant -- who have now declared themselves an Islamic State -- and its allies.
"The secretary emphasized the need for their full participation to the new Iraqi Parliament convened to move the process forward, to forge an inclusive government that takes into account the rights, aspirations and legitimate concerns of all of Iraqis," said Psaki.
Psaki said that the U.S. expected Kurdish politicians to attend a parliamentary meeting scheduled for July 8, after they walked out last week, and said the U.S. supports Iraq's unity, rather than Kurdish independence.
"A united Iraq is a stronger Iraq and the focus should be on the existential threat that all Iraqis face and that people in the region face, which is the threat of ISIL, and we should not give an opening to a horrific terrorist group by being divided at this critical moment," said Psaki.
Kurdish Regional Government President Masoud Barzani told the BBC on Tuesday that a referendum would be held on independence within months.
The Kurdish Regional Government's defense forces - called the Peshmerga - seized control of the disputed oil-rich city of Kirkuk after the Iraqi army pulled out of the area in mid-June, following a major offensive by ISIL-led armed rebels.
Israeli support for Kurdish independence 'harmful to Kurds'
Israeli politicians' calls for the establishment of an independent Kurdish state in Iraq's north are "harmful to Kurds' interests," head of a Kurdish research institute told the Anadolu Agency on Wednesday.
"For years we have been voicing that there are no established ties between Israel and the Kurdish administration; however, following Netanyahu's recent remarks, some countries have started to think that we are backed by Israel," Farid Asasard from Sulaymaniyah-based Kurdistan Center for Strategic Studies said.
On June 29, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for an independent Kurdish state in northern Iraq as part of an Israeli plan to form an alliance between Tel Aviv and moderate forces across the region.
The U.S. and Turkey have opposed an independent Kurdish state and voiced support for a unity government in Iraq.
"The Israeli discourse promoting an independent Kurdish state is bringing damage, not support, to the Kurdish issue," Asasard said.
Iraq's Kurds -- who enjoy a great deal of autonomy in the country's north -- have taken advantage of a nation-wide chaos triggered by the advance of rebel groups led by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and began to mull secession from Iraq after taking full control of the oil-rich northern city of Kirkuk.Last Mod: 03 Temmuz 2014, 09:34