ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqi President Barham Salih arrived in the Kurdistan Region capital of Erbil on Monday to meet with top Kurdish officials and lawmakers from the region.
The President of the Kurdistan Region, Nechirvan Barzani, received his Iraqi counterpart, Salih, at the Erbil International Airport in Erbil.
Salih’s trip comes amid ongoing widespread violence-ridden protests in central and southern Iraq that began early last month, calling for a complete overhaul of the government and ouster of what demonstrators perceive to be a corrupt political class.
A source familiar with Salih’s plans told Kurdistan 24 on Monday that the Iraqi president’s goal is to meet with senior officials in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) as well as lawmakers in the regional legislature.
During his meetings, he will discuss the current developments in Iraq and how the Kurdistan Region plans to deal with them, the source added. On Tuesday, Salih is scheduled to meet with parties in the regional parliament.
Anti-government demonstrations in Iraq continued on Monday, with security forces opening fire on protesters, killing at least five people and injuring several others, Reuters quoted witnesses as saying.
In October, confrontations between demonstrators and security forces have resulted in the deaths of more than 250 people and injury to at least 6,000 others. So far, in November, at least a dozen more civilians have been killed and hundreds more wounded.
On Sunday, Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi called for an end to the nationwide protests, citing concerns that they were negatively affecting the country’s economy.
Iraqis, youths especially, have long complained of a lack of economic opportunities in oil-rich Iraq, which is among the most corrupt countries worldwide, according to Transparency International’s listing.
Demonstrations have also called for an end to foreign intervention in Iraq’s internal affairs. Late Sunday, protesters stormed the Iranian consulate in Karbala and set parts of it on fire. A clash that followed led to the deaths of at least three protesters and injured 19 more.
Shortly after they began, Abdul-Mahdi attempted to calm protests by promising purported wide-ranging reforms and a government reshuffle. Protests continued, however, with participants stating their demands were not met.
Editing by Nadia Riva