Former Mosul Governor calls on Kurdistan to cancel referendum in Nineveh
Atheel Nujaifi, a former Mosul governor, called on the Kurdistan Region to cancel its independence referendum in areas of Nineveh, fearing tensions. He also is encouraging the international community to contribute to the rebuilding of the war-torn city.

"The Kurdistan Region is heading towards independence and Baghdad is rejecting it. And in [Nineveh] there are lots of Hashd [paramilitary units (PMUs)]; we have therefore called for canceling referendum in these areas," Nujaifi told Rudaw in an interview.

If the referendum is held, he warned, the area will plunge into "violence and rivalry."

He added: "The area has faced destruction and lots of fighting and this question has to be resolved through dialogue between Erbil and Baghdad."

The Kurdistan Region announced that it will hold an independence referendum on September 25, including Kurdistani areas in the provinces of Nineveh and Kirkuk.

Nujaifi discussed the destruction and casualties of the Mosul offensive to liberate the city from IS’s three-year reign.

He estimated billions in funding is needed to restore basic services to the war-wrecked city — not including the compensation for civilians, and costs to rebuild the market and public places damaged during the nine-month offensive.

"To restore basic services, Mosul is in need of $3 billion," said Nujaifi adding that they "need a larger budget to compensate civilians, repair bazaars and public places, particularly Old Mosul."

Referring to the war-torn west bank, where the toughest battles took place in tight quarters and narrow alleys, he said: "Old Mosul is 100 percent ruined.”

Nujaifi noted the Iraqi capital is unable to allocate the giant sum due to its economic crisis.

He believes via the international level is the best mechanism to raise funds as "even other Iraqi provinces are not willing to give their shares to help reconstruct Mosul.”

"Turkey has informed the Iraqi Prime Minister that they are willing to repair the Old Mosul area and carry out some good projects through investments,” Nujaifi explained.

He, however, accused some unspecified parties in Baghdad of delaying the process of rebuilding.

Nufaifi accused Baghdad of handing over Mosul to IS in the first place and destroying it during the liberation.

"The plot to destroy Mosul started when Mosul was handed over to IS," he claimed.

Reporter’s code: 50101

News Code: 16577  |  Date: 2017/07/26  |  Time: 14 : 57

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