On 11 July, Minister-president Bourgeois received the President of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region, Masoud Barzani. President Barzani is visiting Brussels for talks with the European Union about the future of Kurdistan after the liberation of Mosul.
Last year during his visit to Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, Minister-president Bourgeois met President Barzani for the first time. They discussed the autonomy of the Kurdish region after the war with IS. With the liberation of Mosul and the successful push back of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, President Barzani considers the time is ripe to organize a referendum on Kurdish autonomy. To this end he calls for support from the European Union and the international community.
Minister-president Bourgeois expressed his support for the referendum: "I am in favor of the right of self-determination of all the people in the world. Organizing a referendum is a democratic process and we must respect the result. " Bourgeois also pointed to the stability of Iraqi Kurdistan: "It is a tolerant country where different peoples - Kurds, Arabs, Jezidi, Christians, ... - live together with respect for all religions. It's an example for the Middle East. "