WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement:

“For decades, the Kurdish people have endured campaign after campaign of atrocities, so it’s no wonder that they seek self-determination to protect themselves in the future. 

“The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has played an important role in hosting nearly two million refugees from Iraq and Syria.   Kurdish participation in the Global Coalition against ISIL has been critical to weakening the group and will be vital to our shared goal of ISIL’s final defeat.  Now, with ISIL’s demise in sight, the Kurdish people face additional threats from Shia militias seeking to exacerbate sectarian and ethnic tensions. 

“I firmly believe in the Kurdish right to self-determination. 

“With so many urgent issues at hand, including ISIL’s final defeat, the return of displaced people, a recovering economy, and political complications in the KRG, I urge Kurdish leaders to use the mandate created by this referendum to address these important issues.

“Now that the Kurdish independence referendum has concluded, I urge all parties in the region to find a way forward that will build a strong home for the Kurdish people.  The Constitution of Iraq recognizes the administrative role of the Kurdistan Regional Government, and the Central Government in Baghdad must continue to honor its commitments to the Kurdish people and the KRG.”

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