00:16 GMT +323 June 2018
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    A flag of the autonomous Kurdistan region flies as Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters take position to monitor the area from their front line post in Bashiqa, a town 13 kilometres north-east of Mosul (File)

    Putin: 'Kurdish Military Very Effective', Russia Has No Grounds to Break Ties

    © AFP 2018 / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE
    Middle East
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    President Putin's Annual Q&A Session 2017 (44)

    Moscow will not sever ties with Kurds, President Putin said lauding Kurdish fighters' contribution to the fight against terrorism.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Russia has always maintained relations with the Kurdish people and there are no reasons to break these ties off, Russian President Vladimir Putin said during his annual "Direct Line" session on Thursday.

    "We have always maintained relations with the Kurdish people, and I see no reasons to halt these contacts. But, first, we need to solve the common problem, which you have just mentioned. This is the fight against terrorism. We know, and I have repeatedly said this, our position here is open — we know about a significant contribution made by the Kurdish fighters in the struggle against terrorism. Kurdish military units are very effective," Putin said.

    Russia and Iraq are cooperating very actively in general, and "these relations will be developing," Putin noted.

    The Kurdish problem is "acute," and Russia will form up its position regarding this issue "within the framework of international law," the president added.

    Earlier in June, President of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region Masoud Barzani set September 25 as the date for an independence referendum. The referendum will be held throughout Iraqi Kurdistan, as well as territories of the Nineveh, Kirkuk, Saladin and Diyala provinces claimed by both Iraqi Kurdistan and Iraq.

    The Kurds, making up about 20 percent of the Iraqi population, have been seeking self-governance for decades. In 2005, Iraq’s Constitution recognized Kurdistan as an autonomous region, run by the Kurdistan Regional Government, therefore making Iraqi Kurdistan the only autonomous region of the country.

    President Putin's Annual Q&A Session 2017 (44)


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