MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The authorities of Iraqi Kurdistan are determined to develop economic relations with Russia, Mahmood Mohammed, the official representative of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), told Sputnik Wednesday.
"We consider that Russian firms have a better understanding of how to invest in our economy than companies from many other countries. That is why we are open for cooperation. There are no obstacles… Kurdistan wants to develop relations based on mutually beneficial cooperation with many countries, and Russia is one of these states," Mohammed said.
The KDP spokesman added that the bilateral relations between Russia and Iraqi Kurdistan had a long history.
According to the official, all provinces under control of the Kurdish authorities, including those claimed by Baghdad, will participate in Iraqi Kurdistan’s independence referendum on September 25.
"The provinces of Dohuk [Duhok], Hewler [Erbil], Sulaymaniyah and Halabja, parts of the provinces of Kirkuk and Nineveh, controlled by the Kurdish Peshmerga, as well as the district of Sinjar [Shingal] will participate in the referendum," Mohammed said.
Dohuk, Erbil, Sulaymaniyah and Halabja are official parts of Iraqi Kurdistan, while Kurdish-controlled areas in Ninawa, Kirkuk and Diyala governorates are claimed by the Iraqi government.
Mohammed stressed that according to the Iraqi Constitution of 2005, the fate of the so-called "disputed" areas had to be decided at the referendum, but "Baghdad has done nothing" to organize it.
"On September 26, we will begin talks with Iraq and other countries concerned, based on the results of the referendum," he explained.
According to Mohammed, a special negotiating committee headed by President Barzani has already been created.
"The main purpose of this committee is to discuss the conditions for establishing an independent state," Mohammed said.
Mohammed also added that his party had not chosen its candidate for the presidency of Iraqi Kurdistan after the party’s leader Barzani was to leave his post on September 25. The presidential elections are expected to be held on November 1.