On the status of Kirkuk
For a long time, the status of Kirkuk has remained unresolved. How long can that go on?
Kirkuk's status is an important issue for Iraq and it is not a Kurdish problem. It is an Iraqi problem, because we have to remember that Kirkuk was the scene of a vile policy of ethnic cleansing. Thousands and thousands of Kurds and Turkmens were deported, replaced by Arab settlers that Saddam Hussein brought in as a way of changing the demographic characteristics.
Ethnic cleansing cannot stand. Sometimes the Kirkuk debate is portrayed as if it is a solely Kurdish issue. I assert to my colleagues in Baghdad whenever I go and talk about this issue, this is an Iraqi issue. This is a test. This is a challenge for the new Iraqi state.
Are we serious about changing the direction of the country from what Saddam Hussein wanted to do or not? This is a moral responsibility. This is a constitutional responsibility. And I daresay, also, an important requirement for political stability.
This has gone on for too long. I was in Baghdad about a week ago or so. I met with Prime Minister Maliki and other colleagues in the government. We have agreed on a set of measures to expedite the implementation of Article 140, consistent with the constitution and the wishes of the various communities in Kirkuk and the region. We do not want to impose a Kurdish solution on Kirkuk. This will not work. There has to be an Iraqi solution. And the Iraqi solution is through the constitution, implementing that provision, but also fundamentally is about bringing justice and eliminating the legacies of that vile policy of ethnic cleansing.
I hope, from what I have heard in Baghdad, that we will be soon moving, starting an important process of some parliamentary laws that needs to be passed, some other administrative decisions that the government of Iraq will have to undertake in order to start this process going and with a settlement of this dispute.
Full article: http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2011/11/11/bakshi-interview-with-prime-minister-of-iraqi-kurdistan/