29/06/2014 - 23:00
Netanyahu endorses Kurdish independence

Israeli PM voices support for Kurdish statehood as autonomous region expands its territory amid turmoil.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has voiced support for Kurdish statehood, taking a position that appeared to clash with the US preference to keep war-torn Iraq united.

"We should ... support the Kurdish aspiration for independence," Netanyahu told Tel Aviv University's INSS think-tank on Sunday, after outlining what he described as the collapse of Iraq and other Middle East regions under strife between Arab Sunnis and Shia Muslims.

The Kurds, Netanyahu said, "are a fighting people that has proved its political commitment, political moderation, and deserves political independence".
The Kurds have seized on the recent sectarian chaos in Iraq to expand their autonomous northern territory to include Kirkuk, which sits on vast oil deposits that could make an independent state economically viable.

Washington wants Iraq's crumbling unity restored. Last Tuesday, the US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Iraqi Kurdish leaders and urged them to seek political integration with Baghdad.

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