ERBIL – You cannot force a people to remain in a country they do not wish to be a part of; Kurdistan will be an independent country sooner rather than later, Peter Galbraith, a former US diplomat, told Kurdistan 24 in a recent interview.
Galbraith, who served as the US’ ambassador to Croatia from 1993 to 1998, also held a post as the United Nations’ deputy special representative for Afghanistan.
Ahead of the Kurdistan Region’s historic independence referendum on Sept. 25, 2017, the former US diplomat was one of many who voiced their support for the Kurds’ right to self-determination. In July 2017, Galbraith said the US should support the people of Kurdistan ahead of the plebiscite.
FREE AND FAIR ELECTION
A year after the historic vote, Galbraith still believes the Kurds’ decision to separate from Iraq cannot be taken away, and the people of Kurdistan will one day realize their long-awaited dream of independence.
“The purpose of the referendum was for the people of Kurdistan to make a binding decision about whether they wanted to be independent or to remain part of Iraq. They made that decision; 93 percent voted for independence. That decision can never be taken away. That’s a fact,” he told Kurdistan 24.
“The reality is you can’t keep people in a country they do not want to be a part of. You can keep them in for a while, you can use brutal repression, but everybody knows that what the people of Kurdistan have decided is to leave,” he added.
Galbraith described the referendum as “a big success” and “a way for the people of Kurdistan to make a decision about their future.”
“It was a completely free and fair election,” he noted. “There was no coercion, no allegation of impropriety. And people turned out in huge numbers.”
“In many ways, it was the most successful independence referendum in modern times.” Read more