WASHINGTON DC (Kurdistan 24) – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke by phone with the President-elect of the Kurdistan Region, Nechirvan Barzani, to offer his congratulations, State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus announced in a statement released on Monday.
“The Secretary expressed appreciation for the President-elect’s leadership in resolving outstanding Baghdad-Erbil issues, according to the Iraqi constitution’s framework for dialogue,” Ortega explained, as she described one US priority in Iraq.
“The Secretary urged continued joint operations by Iraqi forces and Kurdish Peshmerga against ISIS,” she continued, describing another top US priority.
“Finally, the Secretary underscored continued US commitment to our Iraqi partners, including those in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region,” Ortega said.
Doubtless, the specific mention of an enduring US commitment to the Kurdistan Region is welcome in Erbil.
.@SecPompeo congratulated Nechirvan Barzani on his election as President of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region, and expressed appreciation for the President-elect’s leadership in resolving outstanding Baghdad-Erbil issues according to the Iraqi constitution’s framework for dialogue. pic.twitter.com/97sILLfMva— Morgan Ortagus (@statedeptspox) June 3, 2019
Pompeo, thus, joins other world leaders in welcoming Barzani’s election, including British Prime Minister Theresa May, Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, as well as officials from Belgium, Canada, China, the Czech Republic, France, India, Germany, Japan, South Korea, the UN and the European Union, along with another senior US figure, National Security Council Adviser, Amb. John Bolton.
Barzani will be sworn in as President of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) on June 10, in a ceremony in Erbil’s Saad Abdullah Conference Hall to accommodate the large number of local and foreign officials expected to attend the event.
In a parliamentary session two days later, he is scheduled to call upon the current Chancellor of the Kurdistan Region Security Council, Masrour Barzani, as Prime Minister, who will be given 30 days to form the new KRG cabinet.
Pompeo is currently on a visit to Europe. His first stop was Berlin, and on Friday, in a joint press conference with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, the two senior diplomats announced Germany’s support for a US-sponsored safe zone in Syria, along with Germany’s readiness to participate in maintaining the zone.
Last October, Pompeo hailed the Kurds of Syria as “great partners,” affirming that they would be included in the political negotiations on Syria’s future.
But US President Donald Trump’s surprise decision in December to withdraw all US troops from Syria, later modified to a decision to withdraw most US troops, with some 400 to remain there, along with a continuing stalemate over the UN-sponsored negotiations on Syria, have created significant uncertainties for Kurds in that country.