Kurdistan Regional Government president Masoud Barzani announced on June 7 that the region had set September 25 as the date for a referendum on independence. He was joined by members of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, Kurdistan Islamic Union, Kurdistan Islamic Movement and other small parties, including those representing Assyrian and Turkmen minorities. New signs on billboards throughout the KRG capital of Erbil tout “yes to independence.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says that Russia and the Kurds of Iraq have strong historical ties that go back decades and that Moscow makes sure its ties with Iraqi Kurdistan do not have a negative impact on anyone else, particularly the Iraqi central government.
Negotiations with Syrian President Bashar Assad are necessary to resolve the conflict in the country, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said.
A frequent refrain from all parties to the conflict in Syria – whether it is the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson or President Assad himself – is that it is for Syrians to determine the future of Syria.