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An interview with a French or international personality from the world of economics, politics, culture or diplomacy. Every Wednesday at 4.45 pm Paris time and Saturday at 7.45 am.

Latest update : 2017-10-20

Kurdish referendum a ‘colossal mistake’, says son of late president Talabani

In an exclusive interview with FRANCE 24, Bafel Talabani – the son of late Iraqi president and Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani – blasted the decision of the Kurdish leadership to go ahead with a referendum on independence, calling it a "colossal mistake". He said a US proposal to postpone the referendum by two years should have been accepted and would have avoided the current situation, in which Iraqi federal forces have taken back control of areas controlled by Kurds since 2014.

Bafel Talabani strongly denied accusations presented in some Kurdish media that he had betrayed Kurdish leaders by allowing Iraqi government troops and their Shiite militia allies to seize the oil-rich city of Kirkuk. He rejected as "baseless" claims that this was part of a deal he had brokered with Baghdad and Tehran, arguing that his forces had indeed fought and lost soldiers but decided to withdraw because of too many losses among the ranks of Peshmergas.

The son of the late president said that Iraqi Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, had offered a deal to avoid skirmishes in Kirkuk but that it had been rejected by the Kurdish leadership. He added that he was concerned about fighting between different Kurdish factions and expressed the hope that they would eventually reconcile and coordinate to work toward a future independence.

Bafel Talabani called for the Kurdish people as a whole to negociate with Bagdad and to re-engage the international community.

By Marc PERELMAN

Archives

2018-08-13 Marine BENOIT

Paleontologist Kenneth Lacovara: ‘Dinosaurs were the last great champions’

Our guest in this edition is Kenneth Lacovara, a paleontologist who has studied some the largest dinosaurs ever to walk our planet. Lacovara explains why more than ever, these...

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2018-08-13 Marjorie PAILLON

Alan Turing's nephew: ‘A Shakespearean tragedy surrounded his life’

His uncle cracked Nazi ciphering by finding the settings for the Enigma coding machine in 1939, giving the United Kingdom and its allies an enormous advantage during World War...

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2018-07-30 Marjorie PAILLON

Space is not a 'Plan B', says former NASA astronaut

In 1992, Mae Jemison made history as the first African-American woman to travel into space. The former NASA astronaut now advocates for more diversity in space and STEM fields,...

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2018-07-28 Alvaro SIERRA

France Foreign Minister Le Drian urges Colombia to stick to peace process

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian travels to Colombia in his first official visit to a Latin American country. Le Drian spoke to FRANCE 24 in Bogota about his vision for...

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2018-07-26 James ANDRE

War in Syria: Has Assad won?

Fadi Dayoub is a Syrian activist and the head of an NGO which focuses on local development and small projects in areas in Syria beyond the control of the Assad regime. He tells...

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