ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The improving relations between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the Federal Government of Iraq led discussions on Thursday in two separate meetings that were held between a visiting US delegation and senior Kurdistan Region officials.
The US delegation, headed by Amb. David Satterfield, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, met with both the leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), Masoud Barzani, and the Chancellor of the Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC), Masrour Barzani.
The visiting delegation also included Joey Hood, Charge d'affaires of the US Mission in Iraq, Steven Fagin, US Consul General in Erbil, and Lt.Gen. Paul LaCamera, Commander of the US-led coalition against the Islamic State, formally known as Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR).
In the meeting with Masoud Barzani, Amb. Satterfield conveyed the greetings of US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, who Iraq in an unannounced trip on Tuesday.
For his part, Masoud Barzani “warmly welcomed the delegation, before discussing several key issues concerning bilateral relations between Baghdad and Erbil, adding that further strengthening those relations will certainly be of mutual interest,” a statement on the KDP leader’s website read.
Pleased to receive a USG delegation today headed by Amb. David Satterfield, the Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs where we spoke of the latest political developments and the ongoing efforts to eradicate the terrorists of the Islamic State pic.twitter.com/vfoTODR7fe— Masoud Barzani (@masoud_barzani) May 9, 2019
The two parties also addressed the situation in Syria and Iraq following the military defeat of the self-styled Islamic State.
“President Barzani and his guests agreed that the terrorists of the Islamic State continue to pose a threat to the security of Iraq, Syria, and beyond,” the statement noted.
Indeed, despite its defeat, the so-called Islamic State continues to carry out sporadic in formerly liberated areas of Iraq, like Mosul, and even places it never controlled like the capital of Baghdad.
Senior Kurdistan Region leaders, including Masoud and Masrour Barzani, have repeatedly warned that the root causes which led to the rise of the terrorist group must be addressed in order to prevent its resurgence.
During the meeting with Amb. Satterfield, Masoud Barzani “noted that the US-led coalition played and continues to play a major role in supporting the Peshmerga and Iraqi forces against the terrorists of the Islamic State.”
Fruitful meeting today with U.S. delegation led by Acting Assistant Secretary David Satterfield — Discussed regional developments and relations between Kurdistan Region, Iraq and United States. Readout: https://t.co/XrfnClr5iV pic.twitter.com/KFd6iYWYam— Masrour Barzani (@masrour_barzani) May 9, 2019
In a separate meeting with KRSC Chancellor Masrour Barzani, Amb. Satterfield and his delegation, including Lt. Gen. Camera, held “an in-depth discussion on regional developments and relations among the Kurdistan Region, Iraq and the United States of America,” a KRSC statement read.
Both sides “spoke at length about the ongoing progress between the KRG and the Federal Government, as well as bilateral relations between the Kurdistan Region and its neighbors.”
They also “reviewed with concern increasing ISIS activities in Iraq and Syria.”
Editing by Laurie Mylroie