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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

2017-11-22 Native Americans

Keepers of the flame: Native American communities seeking to protect their cultural legacy

As the United States celebrates this month the rich culture of its 3.2 million Native Americans, Annette Young meets Theresa Pasqual and Melanie O’Brien who are working to...

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2017-11-20 Middle East

Turkish adviser warns US forces may stay in Syria

In an interview with FRANCE 24, Ibrahim Kalin, a special adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, discusses several issues regarding Turkey and Syria. He expresses...

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2017-11-18 Americas

Top psychiatrist: Trump's 'mental impairment' poses danger to world

What if you knew a truth about someone that harboured dangers of such magnitude that it could be the key to future human survival? What if that "someone" happened to be the...

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2017-11-15 Middle East

'Saudi Arabia is becoming one-man rule', exiled journalist says

In an interview with FRANCE 24, prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi praised the anti-corruption crackdown undertaken by Saudi Arabia, stressing that the royal family had...

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2017-11-15 security

Islamic State group changing strategy, French defence minister tells FRANCE 24

In an interview with FRANCE 24, French Defence Minister Florence Parly discussed the fight against terrorism, in Syria and Iraq as well as in Africa, warning that the Islamic...

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