ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Masoud Barzani, President of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), received a US delegation led by Brett McGurk, Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat the Islamic State (IS), on Monday.
The delegation included the US ambassador to Iraq, Douglas Silliman.
The two sides discussed important regional issues, including “ongoing efforts” to eliminate “the terrorists of the Islamic State in Iraq, Syria, and beyond,” according to a statement released by Barzani’s office.
Since Baghdad’s assault on Kirkuk last October, IS has posed an increasing threat in northern Iraq. The US-led coalition has responded by increasing coordination with the Peshmerga.
McGurk affirmed that the US would continue to support both Iraq and the Kurdistan Region.
The Kurdish and US officials also addressed developments in Syrian Kurdistan, including “possible collective efforts to help further stabilize those areas,” the statement from Barzani’s office explained.
They also discussed the political situation in Iraq in the wake of the May 12 parliamentary elections and the efforts to form a new government.
McGurk had been a major advocate of a US policy, based on promoting Prime Minister Haydar al-Abadi, in the expectation that he would win. However, Abadi’s list came in third, while the KDP finished fourth, winning the most seats of any Kurdish party.
Thus, the KDP will play a significant role in the formation of the next Iraqi government.
Barzani reiterated his insistence that the next government must be formed on the basis of “partnership, consensus and a power-sharing balance,” in accord with Iraq’s 2005 constitution.
Barzani emphasized, as the statement explained, that commitment to those principles will prevent a repetition of the mistakes of the past and help create a genuine political consensus.
Barzani also called for forming a comprehensive coalition, based on the three principles, with a clear mechanism and timeline for implementation of the principles, so that all of the communities involved will feel that they are true partners in the Iraqi political process.
Editing by Laurie Mylroie