UN: We would need request from national government to engage in referendum

UNITED NATIONS, New York – The United Nation’s decision to not “engage” with the Kurdistan referendum on independence is not a stance against the vote, a UN spokesperson confirmed to Rudaw, but is part of their “standing principle” to participate in votes only at the request of national governments.

In June, the UN’s office in Iraq issued a statement declaring it “has no intention to be engaged in any way or form as concerns the referendum.”

At the UN’s headquarters on Friday, Rudaw’s Majid Gly asked Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson for the Secretary General, if this stance meant the UN mission opposed the historic vote. 

“No, they just made it clear that they will not participate in the organization,” Dujarric answered. 

It is the UN’s policy to participate in any vote on requests from national governments only, he explained. 

“As a matter of principle, the UN needs a request from a national government to participate and to help, whether it’s technical and otherwise, in any balloting that takes place. The UN works with national governments and that is how we operate throughout the world. That’s just a standing principle.”

Dujarric stressed that the UN would like to see “dialogue between Erbil and Baghdad” to resolve outstanding issues between them, a position he said the international body has stated “over and over again.”

Kurdish officials had hoped that the UN would assist in monitoring the referendum scheduled for September 25, Fuad Hussein, chief of staff to the Kurdistan presidency, had told Rudaw in June.  

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