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Excluding Part of Iraq's Population Leads to Support for ISIS: German FM

ERBIL (Reuters) -- German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Thursday (April 20) that excluding part of a population could lead to the acceptance and support of terrorist ideals.

Gabriel made the comments during a joint news conference with Massoud Barzani, at the Salahuddin Resort in Erbil, adding that such a method had lead to increased support for Islamic State in Iraq.

The German minister arrived in Baghdad on Wednesday (April 19) and has held talks with his Iraqi counterpart Ibrahim al-Jaafari, where he affirmed Germany's continued support for Iraq in the fight against Islamic State.

Commenting on the Kurdish plan to hold an independence referendum, Gabriel said he was concerned it could lead to further conflict, but had been assured a result would be reached through dialogue.

Earlier this month main Kurdish parties announced a plan to hold a referendum on independence this year. The Kurds said the expected "yes" outcome would strengthen their hand in talks on self-determination with Baghdad, and would not mean automatically declaring independence.

The German foreign minister also held talks with Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, where he reaffirmed his country's military and humanitarian assistance for the region.

Gabriel also said Germany will try to strengthen bilateral relations in all fields with the Kurdistan Region, according to a statement by the KRG. He also stated that dialogue and discussion between Baghdad and the Kurdistan Region should take place in order to resolve outstanding issues.


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