ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – In a visit with senior Kurdistan Region officials on Wednesday, the United Kingdom’s Ambassador to Iraq, Jon Wilks, discussed political developments, and the security situation in Iraq and the autonomous Kurdish region.
The UK ambassador, along with an accompanying delegation which included British Consul General to Erbil Martin Warr, met separately with President of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) Masoud Barzani, Chancellor of the Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC) Masrour Barzani, and Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani.
In his meeting with Masoud Barzani, both sides “exchanged views on the latest political developments in the region and the world, as well as the political process in Iraq,” a statement on the KDP leader’s website read.
The two highlighted the security situation in Iraq with both agreeing that political differences between Erbil and Baghdad should not affect the fight against the so-called Islamic State, the statement added.
Masoud Barzani and Winks also addressed the safety and livelihood of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees, nearly two million of which the Kurdistan Region has provided a haven. They underlined the need to provide the necessary security and services to the displaced so they can return to their areas.
In his meeting with Chancellor Masrour Barzani, Ambassador Wilks “discussed in length recent regional developments [and] emphasized the need to prevent a resurgence of ISIS,” a statement on the KRSC’s website read.
“They agreed that among other measures, closer coordination between Peshmerga Forces and Iraqi Security Forces and joint checkpoints and operations in the disputed territories are important components in that effort,” it added.
Chancellor Barzani also expressed concerns about the recent developments in the disputed province of Kirkuk, urging Wilks “to help facilitate talks to reduce immediate tensions.”
Elsewhere, in a meeting with Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, the two sides “discussed the latest developments in the region, in general, and the political and security situation in Iraq, in particular,” a statement on the KRG website said.
They also addressed the situation of IDPs and refugees, which continues to create a burden for the autonomous Kurdish government that has often relied heavily on its own resources to provide services for tens of thousands of vulnerable people.
Ambassador Wilks briefed Prime Minister Barzani on his recent visit to an IDP camp in Duhok where he said the process of returning displaced people to their homes was observed, the KRG statement noted.
The government formation in the Kurdistan Region, and the positive talks between all parties was highlighted in another part of the meeting, the statement concluded.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany