Peshmerga Minister meets US senators
WASHINGTON DC (Kurdistan 24) – Shoresh Ismail, Minister of Peshmerga Affairs in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), is visiting Washington this week as head of a Peshmerga and security delegation consisting of senior officials from the Presidency of the Kurdistan Region, the Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs, and the Kurdistan Region Security Council.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, the KRG delegation met with US senators. Their visit to Washington follows a similar visit to London last week.
Discussions in Washington
In Washington, the KRG delegation is discussing “the US-Kurdistan Strategic Partnership within the context of the US-Iraq Strategic Framework Agreement,” as the KRG Representation in Washington explained in a written statement.
The Biden administration has affirmed, more clearly than any of its predecessors, the importance of relations between Washington and Erbil. Soon after taking office, it defined the US relationship with the Kurdistan Region as a “strategic partnership.”
Read More: Biden administration: We have a ‘strategic partnership’ with the Kurdistan Region
The discussions between the Kurdish and American officials revolve around two key issues: “the continuing threat of ISIS in Iraq and Syria and the implementation of the Peshmerga reform program,” according to the KRG Representation’s statement.
The delegation’s visit comes at the same time as the announcement of the unification of two major Peshmerga formations: Unit 70, which is currently commanded by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), and Unit 80, commanded by the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).
Col. Farman Farhad of the Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs told Kurdish media that the ministry aims to unify all Peshmerga forces under its umbrella. Doing so is a top priority for KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani and other senior Kurdish officials.
Read More: Peshmerga 70 and 80 Units will be fully unified next year: Official
Both US and UK military advisers are working with the Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs to help realize that objective.
On Tuesday, Ismail and his delegation met with Sen. Jacky Rosen, a Democrat who represents the state of Nevada and sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee. On Wednesday, they met with Sen. Marsha Blackburn, a Republican from Tennessee, the state with the largest Kurdish-American community in the US.
Shoresh updated the senators on the Kurdish fight against ISIS terrorists “and the need to remain vigilant against their resurgence,” the KRG’s Representation explained in a tweet.
He also expressed his thanks to the US Congress, government, and the American people for their support to the Kurdistan Region and Iraq in the fight against ISIS.
Last week, Shoresh led a delegation to Britain, where they discussed, among other issues, “the UK’s ongoing support to Peshmerga reform,” according to a tweet from the office of the British Armed Forces Minister.