Justin Trudeau stays mum on Iraq referendum, citing Quebec as a lesson
OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is refusing to weigh in on a Kurdish independence referendum in Iraq, saying he appreciated that other countries held their tongues during Quebec’s referendums.
Iraqi Kurds are expected to vote overwhelmingly in favour of seeking their own country during a controversial referendum today.
Many oppose the vote, including the U.S., the European Union and Turkey, as well as Iraq’s central government in Baghdad, which claims some of the same oil-rich territory as the Kurds.
Canadian officials have said they support a united Iraq, but otherwise refuse to comment on whether the referendum should be held or how Canada will react to an independence vote.
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Trudeau says as a Quebecer, he is sensitive to other countries getting involved in another country’s internal decisions and that he will respect the process established by the Kurds.
The Kurdish referendum is non-binding, but is expected to kick-start separation talks between the Kurdistan regional government in the north of Iraq, and Baghdad.
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