Kurdistan President, UN envoy to Iraq discuss latest developments in Iraq

President of Kurdistan Region discussed the latest political developments in Iraq and the recent efforts to designate a new candidate for the position of the prime minister of Iraq with United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq.

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Kurdistan Region President, Nechirvan Barzani, on Monday met with the UN envoy to Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, and discussed the latest political developments in the country.

According to a statement from Kurdistan’s presidency website, Barzani and Plasschaert discussed recent efforts to designate a new candidate for the position of Iraq's prime minister.

President Barzani and the UN official “reiterated the importance of political stability and a new government that addresses the legitimate grievances of the people and safeguards the constitutional rights of all groups and communities.” They highlighted the “constructive role” of the United Nations in that regard.

Anti-government protesters who first took to the streets in early October in southern and central parts of Iraq continue to demand the expulsion of what they say is a chronically corrupt political elite that has dominated successive Iraqi governments at the expense of the population. Though the movement continues, its strength has dwindled recently amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Since the demonstrations began in Baghdad and quickly spread to multiple other cities, Iraqi security forces and Iranian-backed militias have killed over 600 protesters, according to official statistics.

Iraq's now-Caretaker Prime Minister, Adil Abdul Mahdi, resigned in late November following a day of unprecedented violence. But, he remains in power amid ongoing disputes between different factions within the national legislature over who would succeed Abdul Mahdi. Last month, Mohammed Allawi failed to obtain the parliament's vote of confidence for the role of prime minister.

In light of concerns of the resurgence of terror groups, Barzani and Plasschaert underlined the “importance of global coalition’s continued support to Iraq and the partnership and coordination between the [Peshmerga] and the Iraqi army to confront ISIS, particularly in disputed territories.”

Remnants of the so-called Islamic State have recently carried out a series of attacks on local populations. They also killed two coalition service members during an anti-terror raid in rural parts of Nineveh Province that killed 25 members of the terrorist organization.

The meeting concluded with a discussion on “the economic situation in Iraq and the ways to contain the spread of coronavirus by implementing the protective measures issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) and similar health groups.”

The disease, officially known as COVID-19 and recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a global pandemic, has infected over 182,000 and killed nearly 7,100 worldwide since first appearing in China in late 2019.

Iraq has confirmed 133 cases of the infection across the country, including the Kurdistan Region.

Editing by Kosar Nawzad