Mike Pompeo congratulates new Kurdistan PM Masrour Barzani

“I congratulated Masrour Barzani on his selection as Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government and thanked him for his leadership,” Secretary of State Pompeo said.

WASHINGTON DC (Kurdistan 24) – On Tuesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo congratulated Masrour Barzani on his new position as Prime Minister.

“I congratulated @masrour_barzani on his selection as Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government and thanked him for his leadership,” Pompeo tweeted, describing his phone conversation with Barzani earlier that day.

For his part, Barzani tweeted, “I had a productive call with @secpompeo” and briefed him “on my visit to Baghdad and plans to work with Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi,” adding, “Secretary of State and I agreed to work closely on security and reform.”

A longer readout of their phone conversation, released by Barzani’s office, explained that Barzani had discussed the issues of “security, territory, budget, and oil and gas” with Abdul Mahdi and ‘there had been a clear willingness in Baghdad to address these issues in a positive way based on both parties’ rights and duties as set in the Constitution.”

“The Secretary of State welcomed this initiative and said he would remain engaged on it with Erbil and Baghdad,” the statement continued.

Similarly, a State Department readout of the conversation, issued by State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus, stressed Pompeo’s “continued appreciation for progress in resolving outstanding Baghdad-Erbil issues, according to the Iraqi constitution’s framework for dialogue.”

The Islamic State, or ISIS, has been re-emerging for some time, particularly in the areas disputed between Erbil and Baghdad, as Kurdistan 24 has regularly reported.

Read More: Kurdistan PM-designate talks security developments with Coalition Commander

On Monday, The Washington Post reported that Islamic State fighters, “mostly Iraqis,” were “slipping back into Iraq” from Syria, as it warned, “their fight isn’t over.”

Thus, the statement from Barzani’s office noted that he and Pompeo “recognized that ISIS remains a regional threat” and “discussed the importance of continued US security and economic assistance to Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, consistent with the US-Iraq Strategic Framework Agreement.”

They “also discussed US support for the KRG’s reform program,” as well as for IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) in the Kurdistan Region.

The vast majority of IDPs and refugees in Iraq live in the Kurdistan Region.

Read More: KRG: Nearly 1.5 million refugees, IDPs remain in the Kurdistan Region

Earlier this month, after the Kurdistan Parliament approved Barzani’s cabinet, the State Department Spokesperson welcomed the new Kurdish government.

“We congratulate the prime minister and the Kurdistan Regional Government on their successful government formation,” Ortagus said.

“We of course enjoy a close partnership with the prime minister and with the Kurdistan Regional Government,” she continued, and “work on important issues, including regional security, economic reform, and repairing relations between the KRG and the Government of Iraq.”