Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer today released the following statement in support of an independent Kurdish State after an overwhelming 93% of Kurds voted Monday in favor of independence from Iraq:
“Monday’s historic vote in Iraqi Kurdistan should be recognized and respected by the world, and the Kurdish people of northern Iraq have my utmost support. I believe the Kurds should have an independent state as soon as possible and that the position of the United States government should be to support a political process that addresses the aspirations of the Kurds for an independent state.
“Over the last two decades, the Kurds have been one of our strongest and most supportive partners on the ground in the fight against terrorism, and we have relied on the Peshmerga time and again. They have also stood up for the rights of minorities in a region where the oppression of minorities is too often the rule and conflict is often the result. And furthermore, the United States should stand for self-determination for our strongest partners. The Kurds are one of the largest ethnic groups in the Middle East without a homeland and they have fought long and hard for one. Despite this, the Kurds continue to get a raw deal and are told to wait for tomorrow, which is why it’s past due that the world, led by the United States, immediately back a political process to address the aspirations of the Kurds.
“In the months ahead, I hope all Iraqis will engage in a dialogue and peacefully determine the best way to accommodate the well-deserved and legitimate aspirations of the Iraqi Kurds. Continued security cooperation between the Kurdish and Iraqi security forces – particularly on terrorism – are essential to any transition. Iraqi’s neighboring countries, however, led by despots who all oppose a Kurdish State because it threatens the status quo and their self-interests, need to respect the need for the Kurds—and the Iraqis--to determine their own future.”