Iraq's outgoing PM meets with senior Kurdistan Region officials in Erbil visit

Saturday’s visit was outgoing Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi’s first official trip to the Kurdistan Region since he took office in late 2018.

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraq's caretaker Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi, and an accompanying delegation, discussed Iraq's current political and security turmoil, as well as Erbil-Baghdad ties, during meetings with top Kurdistan Region officials on Saturday.

Upon his arrival in Erbil, Abdul Mahdi was received by Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani.

In the meeting, President Nechirvan Barzani “reiterated that Iraq should not become a battleground for settling rivalries among regional and international powers” amid ongoing tensions between the United States and Iran, a statement on the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Presidency website read.

Both leaders agreed that all sides must work together to de-escalate the tensions and work toward stability and security in Iraq, it added.

Further cooperation and coordination between Peshmerga and Iraqi security forces, particularly in the disputed territories between Erbil and Baghdad, to prevent the re-emergence of the so-called Islamic State led another part of their meeting.     

In a separate gathering on Saturday, Abdul Mahdi met his Kurdistan Region counterpart, Prime Minister Masrour Barzani.

“Both sides highlighted the need to de-escalate tensions in the region and prevent Iraq from becoming a battlefield for external conflicts,” a statement the Kurdish prime minister’s office released said. “They agreed that Iraq should maintain a balanced relationship with all countries.”

During the meeting, both Prime Minister Barzani and Abdul Mahdi stressed the need to develop a “stronger and mutually beneficial relationship between Erbil and Baghdad,” emphasizing the importance of dialogue to reach an understanding on outstanding issues.

Both sides also “reaffirmed their commitment to implement the agreements already reached between the Kurdistan Regional Government and the Federal Government of Iraq, which will benefit all Iraqis.”

Fighting the threat of terrorism, particularly the Islamic State, was another segment of the meeting. “They agreed to strengthen cooperation and coordination between Peshmerga forces and Iraqi Security Forces,” the statement noted.

“Prime Minister Barzani stressed the importance of the Global Coalition’s continued support, as its ongoing presence in Iraq will help to prevent ISIS’ re-emergence.”

Elsewhere, Abdul Mahdi met with Masoud Barzani, the leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).

The two discussed the latest developments in Iraq as Prime Minister Abdul Mahdi praised Masoud Barzani’s role in addressing the recent events in Iraq, a statement on the KDP leader’s website read.

“We discussed the recent developments in Iraq and the region and reviewed the options of resolving the current issues,” Masoud Barzani wrote on Twitter after the meeting. “The Prime Minister and I agree that the issues should be addressed and solved in accordance [with] the Iraqi Constitution.”

Saturday’s visit was Abdul Mahdi’s first official trip to the Kurdistan Region since he took office in late 2018. 

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany