A press conference of the Iraqi foreign minister Dr. Ibrahim Al Jaafari and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow on the 23rd of October 2017.
Mr. Lavrov: these talks are to exchange opinions over the situations in the Middle East and North Africa.
We have discussed the international issues with concentration on the necessity to enhance the efforts to combat terror, where the front line of this battle is exist in Iraq and Syria, it is the essential target for all countries concern in combating terror, and to increase effectiveness of fighting Daesh and Nusra and to decrease the chances of expanding terror.
We are convinced that the achievement of this target is relevant with the initiative presented by president Putin over establishing the real international coalition to combat terror which will be working on exchanged confidence bases and achieve common goal away from double standards.
We have expressed our support to the Iraqi government not only in combating terror where great successes were recorded but in what concerns resolving internal issues during a comprehensive national dialogue with participation of all national and religion components, we discussed the referendum results in Kurdistan region on the 25 of September and confirmed the supportive position of Russia to find a solution for all outstanding issues between Baghdad and Kurdish governments based on exchanged respect, accordance and unity of Iraq and the integrity of its territories.
We agreed on a tight base for more development as far as the bilateral relations concerns, I mean the political dialogue, economic and trade exchanges, energy cooperation, military and technical and educational cooperation. His Excellency Dr. Ibrahim AL-Jaafari expressed his gratitude for the Russian decision to increase scholarships for Iraqis to study in Russia, all these issues and the bilateral relations will be resolved in details tomorrow in the meeting of Dr. Ibrahim AL-Jaafari and Deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin and they are both participating in the Iraqi-Russian joint committee of trade and economic cooperation. His Excellency Dr. Ibrahim reiterated his kind invitation to visit Iraq and I accept it, we will discuss the timings of this visit soon.
Dr. Ibrahim AL-Jaafari: first of all, I would like present my gratitude and appreciation to my dear brother and colleague Mr. Lavrov for inviting me visiting Moscow.
We thank the important responsible stance taken by the federal Russia in supporting Iraq against terror.
The victories achieved by the Iraqi armed forces were an expression of the Iraqi people political and security, and at the same time the friendly states' stances and Russia is on top.
After we folded the page of confronting terror, we have to concentrate on strengthening economic relations from now, and moves the construction and building wheel forward.
Recently, an unconstitutional phenomenon took place in Kurdistan which is the referendum, the government had spent quiet peaceful efforts to preserve Iraq and the people's unity but some were unresponsive. An affective important action occurred contributed by Kurds, Arab and Torkuman all together to refuse the referendum.
The Iraqi government had to be deal with it wisely to solve this issue without turn it into a war, the people of Kirkuk responded quietly and within 15 hours the operations was over.
The government didn't target a certain community but it was targeting to impose law and expellee out of law people.
We are not talking about the Kurdish layers in general because they had participated with the Arabic and Torkuman in sacrifice, building and the opposition during Saddam Hussein era until they achieved the final victory.
The Kurdish brothers are participating in state administration and possessing essential and strategic positions like presidency, ministers and other positions.
We still rely in our relations with the strategic friend Russia to flow welfare on us whether economically, politically or security after Iraq folded the confrontation page with Daesh, this is an international victory not only for Iraq but to all affected countries by Daesh. It's time to roll the construction and building wheel.
A question to Mr. Lavrov: what is Russia's position from the referendum in Kurdistan? Does Russia intend to enhance economic cooperation with Kurdistan? What do you think of the recent news over evacuating diplomatic missions in Erbil and what is happened to the Russian consulate in Erbil?
Mr. Lavrov: Regarding our position over the referendum, I have briefly mentioned it at the beginning and I would like to emphasize to understand the Kurdish aspirations and awareness, but we think it would be better to reduce these aspirations through dialogue with Baghdad taking in consideration the consequences in the region away from forming it establishing a new focus of disorders in the area.
There are various political trend for the Kurds and Russia tries to communicate with all political powers in Iraq including Kurds, we express our position by these communications.
As for the diplomatic mission of Russia in Erbil in fact I have watched a media report published by Euro news channel that pretend to be the most objective and neutrality channel in Europe and the world, in fact this report stated that Russia refused Baghdad request to close the Russian consulate in Erbil, I was surprised from these allegations and mentioned this issue in my meeting with Dr. Ibrahim AL-Jaafari. I assure you that the most neutral and transparent channel in Europe has been trapped by slanders
The general consulate in Erbil is still functioning as other consulates in the world, and I want to remind you that the Russian consulate in Erbil is supervised by our embassy in Baghdad the capital of the unified country. As far the economic cooperation with Kurdistan, the Russian companies are interested to expand their projects not only in Kurdistan but over all Iraq.
Question to Dr. Ibrahim: what will the Iraqi government does in case Kurdistan insists to carry on the referendum results? Do you think that the timing of declaring independence of Kurdistan by Barazani after defeating Daesh was a good time? Or it is a dream kills the Iraqi efforts?
Dr. Ibrahim, the evaluation of conducted the referendum is not about the timing but we are talking about constitutional wise, the article 1 of the Iraqi constitution directly stated that Iraq is a sovereign united country can't be divided and all political parties without exception, we are talking about a charter and a legal constitutional contract so the referendum was unconstitutional and illegal even the Arab league refused it and considered it as illegal matter, as that the Islamic cooperation organization and many other countries supported us. We are not facing a personal issue or extreme differences but it is more constitutional issue in addition to the Kurds are political partners not politically isolated.
The Kurds are having the highest share in the state, the presidency, sovereign ministries and all other state facilities as part of the Iraqi people and receive their fair rights and annual budget normally, worth noting that the Iraqi budget share identified by the united nations in the oil-for food program is 21,9% and the Kurds get 17%.
Each country in the world expressed its own opinion and expressed its interaction with the government's procedures and didn't agree with what Mr. Barazani did, he mentioned in his speech that I know that the public opinion is not with us in this issue.
The globe is very well aware that Iraq has dealt in a civilized way and didn't use tough measures and extortion but wanted to establish economic, security and political new base.
When we aim to establish a state, we have to look at the constitution and law. They are the correct choices to establish a new state.
A question to Mr. Lavrov: President Trump said recently that after the liberating Iraq from insurgents , the United States will adopt a new policy toward Syria bases on supporting local powers and create suitable circumstances to impose peace in Syria.. did the American side informed the Russian side on his regards ?
Mr. Lavrov : regarding cooperation with the American side, we are in contact with them regarding what so called resolving conflict, I mean the contact between military figures and ministries of foreign affairs but in the recent period, we noted strange issues concerning the US led coalition attitude by repeatedly attacks against the Syrian Arabic army while attacking Daesh that its squads quietly entered into areas used to be controlled by the American supported opposition, I mean the comprehensive leaving of Daesh fighters from Raqa and at the same time when the American coalition bombed this city when attempted to draw some boundaries that prevents the Syrian army to cross, I have asked the question many times to Mr. Telirson and also in the American-Russian calls as well, what are the goals that the US want to achieve in Syria? The answer was always the same is the only goal for the united states and the American coalition is combating Daesh and defeat it, therefore the talks about the US new policy in Syria and establishing local councils in the sovereign territories . we ask such questions to the Washington and looking for clear honest answers.
Question to Dr. Ibrahim AL-Jaadfari: Baghdad's government have taken number of decisions over the Kurdish referendum, is there more decisions to be taken at a time more voices calling to submit a legal complaint or chasing the Kurdish presidency in a legal way?
Dr. Ibrahim: Iraq takes responsibility honestly and bravely in order to protect its sovereignt, land and people and what exposes oppression whether detention, murder or assault to any citizen, Iraq is responsible to protect all these people, we won't hesitate or be late to defend them.
Iraq lives a new democratic phase through which all Iraqis get their rights and do their duties in a better shape.
Once again, I confirm that many of the brothers Kurds have stood in a noble way with their Arab brothers in Kirkuk and other areas.