ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The United States Vice President, Mike Pence, condemned the recent Iranian missile attack on the Kurdistan Region in a phone call with Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani.
Vice President Pence wrote in a tweet that he spoke with Prime Minister Barzani earlier on Monday and condemned Iran’s recent rocket attacks on the Kurdistan Region town of Koya.
Pence described the attack “as an effort [by Iran] to threaten and destabilize its closest neighbor.”
In a separate tweet, Prime Minister Barzani said he “reiterated the KRG’s commitment in the fight against terror” in the phone call with the US Vice President.
Barzani also highlighted the Kurdistan Region’s efforts to help form an “inclusive and representative” government in Baghdad.
“I highly value the US support to the Kurdistan Region and work to further strengthen our ties,” the KRG PM wrote.
“I also reiterated that the Kurdistan Region will remain a safe haven for all religious and ethnic groups and the centuries-old coexistence, harmony and religious freedom in our Region will last for centuries to come.”
1/ In a call with @VP, I reiterated KRG’s commitment in the fight against terror, and highlighted our efforts to help form an inclusive and representative government in Baghdad. I highly value the US support to the Kurdistan Region and work to further strengthen our ties.— Nechirvan Barzani (@PMBarzani) September 10, 2018
2/ In the call with @VP, I also reiterated that the Kurdistan Region will remain a safe haven for all religious and ethnic groups and the centuries-old coexistence, harmony and religious freedom in our Region will last for centuries to come.— Nechirvan Barzani (@PMBarzani) September 10, 2018
The White House published a readout of Pence’s phone call with Barzani, stating that the two leaders “reaffirmed the strategic partnership between the Kurds and the United States.”
“Prime Minister Barzani expressed gratitude for US support in the fight against [the Islamic State (IS)] and noted that more cooperation between the two countries was necessary to capitalize on shared successes against terrorism in Iraq,” the statement added.
It also said Vice President Pence congratulated the KRG Prime Minister “on several initiatives to promote religious freedom” in the Kurdistan Region, adding the two “agreed to work closely on helping Iraq’s persecuted religious communities return to their ancestral homes.”
Since taking office, the US Vice President has been determined to ensure persecuted religious communities receive the proper assistance.
In June, Pence instructed the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to speed assistance to decimated Iraqi religious communities — Christians and Yezidis — who were targeted by IS and to provide that aid directly, rather than through the United Nations.
Last October, speaking before the annual conference of the organization In Defense of Christians (IDC), Pence affirmed, “President Trump is committed to help persecuted peoples reclaim their lands, return to their homes, rebuild their lives, and replant the roots in their ancient place of birth.”
He complained that while the Obama administration had “devoted well over a billion dollars in humanitarian aid to the Middle East,” the “lion’s share” of that assistance had been routed through the UN, which “too often failed to help the most vulnerable communities, especially religious minorities.”
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany