Russia has put its voice forward calling for a delay in the Kurdish independence referendum in north Iraq which is scheduled for September.
Russia has instead encouraged the Iraqi government and Iraqi Kurds to engage in dialogue in order to reach a compromise solution which does not threaten Iraq’s territorial integrity. This move will be welcomed by Turkey which is set against Kurdish separatism throughout the region.
Russia’s ambassador to Iraq Maksim Maksimov has stated,
“”We have repeatedly stated that we support the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Iraq. Any decisions related to Iraq’s unity should be a consequence of negotiations process between Baghdad and Erbil in this case. There is currently a range of disagreements of political, economic and territorial nature which exists between the two centres. So we are urging the central authorities, as well as the government of the autonomous region of Kurdistan to begin dialogue to discuss all disputable topics and agree on mutually acceptable principles and forms of coexistence”.
Maksimov further stated that Russia is willing to help Iraq’s army through the sale of further weapons. To this effect he stated,
“We always said on all levels that we are ready to provide comprehensive support to our Iraqi friends in boosting the military potential of the Iraqi army and security agencies, equipping them with the latest military equipment”.
This underlines Russia’s increasingly good relations with Iraq, a role that was solidified during Iraqi Vice President Nouri al-Maliki recent visit to Moscow.