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Caucasus States, and Kurds, Assess Kurdistan's Independence Drive

Kurdistan Regional Government Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani meets with Armenian special envoy Levon Sargsyan in Erbil in 2015. Barzani's uncle, Masoud, the leader of Kurdistan, has met with the leadership of both Armenia and Azerbaijan in 2017. (photo: Kurdistan Regional Government)

In the wake of Iraqi Kurdistan's vote to declare independence, Armenia and Azerbaijan – both countries with Kurdish minorities of their own – appeared to be taking time to develop their formal positions, mindful of the regional and global implications.

The larger regional states – Iraq, Iran and Turkey – all have strongly opposed the referendum, threatening various sanctions and rattling sabers. The United States also called for the referendum to be delayed; Russia expressed support for both territorial integrity and the peaceful expression of Kurdish self-determination. In the region itself, only Israel expressed support for both the referendum and the establishment of a Kurdish state.

Armenia’s foreign ministry spokesman Tigran Balayan told Eurasianet.org that Armenia “was carefully watching the developments,” and that a more concrete position was forthcoming. In the meantime, veteran politician Aram G. Sargsyan was reported to be in Kurdistan as an observer to the vote.

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Caucasus States, and Kurds, Assess Kurdistan's Independence Drive

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