ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A US delegation led by the US Deputy Assistant Secretary for Iran and Iraq Andrew Peek on Saturday discussed various topics with Kurdish leaders, including the recent resumption of oil exports from Kirkuk and the situation in territories disputed by Iraq and the Kurdistan Region.
Peek met separately with former President of the Kurdistan Region and head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) Masoud Barzani and also Chancellor of the Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC) Masrour Barzani.
Both sides welcomed the resumption of oil exports from Kirkuk through the Kurdistan Region pipeline "as an important, symbolic step to building trust and settling Erbil-Baghdad political disputes," according to the press offices of Barzani and KRSC.
They also “underscored the importance of normalizing the situation [in] the disputed territories, including reopening roads, counter-improvised explosive device (IED) efforts and restoring basic services.”
They agreed to chart a new beginning to work together with Iraq’s federal government to address long-unresolved differences.
The return of displaced people from the Kurdistan Region to their areas of origin now liberated from the Islamic State (IS) and the administration of those territories, namely the disputed regions, was a prominent topic throughout.
They also highlighted the sacrifices of Kurdish Peshmerga forces in the fight against IS and their role in providing security and stability to people in the area, regardless of their ethnic and religious background.
Earlier, Peek and his delegation met with Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region Nechirvan Barzani, after which they stressed the need for stronger ties between Erbil and Baghdad.
Editing by John J. Catherine