ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraq’s Interior Minister, Yassin al-Yasiri, on Thursday described meetings covering a wide range of security issues that he just held with his counterpart in the Kurdistan Region as “positive.”
The comments came during a joint press briefing led by Yasiri and Kurdistan Region Interior Minister Rebar Ahmad. Several officials from both ministries also attended the meetings, which began on Wednesday when the Iraqi government delegation arrived in Erbil.
“Our visit was important and we covered many of the hanging issues between the two ministries,” Yasiri told reporters. Among the issues covered was the proposed opening of a number of offices tasked with issuing or facilitating paperwork for various identification cards and travel documents in the Kurdistan Region.
They also discussed coordinating to arrest individuals wanted by the Iraqi government but who reside in Kurdish territory as well as the subsequent transfer of their custody to Iraqi authorities.
Yasiri described the meeting as “positive,” noting that the two sides also touched on the topic of entry fees that Iraqis from outside the Kurdistan Region are currently required to pay when entering. The Iraqi minister said that the Kurdish official had “promised” to stop collecting them.
Ahmed, from his side, stated that the meeting was the “most successful” the two sides had held in recent years, affirming that the Iraqi delegation was “responsive” and praised the agreements reached between them.
Yasiri’s trip marks his first to the autonomous Kurdish region since he formally took office in Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi’s government in late June.
Over the past few months, members of the new Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) cabinet have made several visits to Baghdad and had other increased contact with the federal government of Iraq to try to find solutions to longstanding issues between the two.
Ties between Erbil and Baghdad have significantly improved in 2019 after being strained over the past few years following the Kurdistan Region’s historic independence referendum, which saw a landslide majority favoring statehood.
Editing by John J. Catherine