Brett McGurk, the US president's special envoy to the international coalition against ISIS, meets with Nechirvan Barzani, the prime minister of the Kurdistan Region. Photo: KRG DFR
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — The United States’ Special Presidential Envoy was received in Erbil by Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani in Erbil on Sunday evening, where their delegations spoke about Erbil-Washington relations, Kurdish Peshmerga forces, and resolving pending political issues.
PM Barzani met with McGurk discussing Erbil-Washington relations, according to a statement from the KRG, adding that the US appreciated and thanked the KRG and the Peshmerga for their victories achieved over the terror and coordination between the Peshmerga and Iraqi army in eradicating terror in Mosul and its surroundings.
McGurk is the US SPE to the international coalition against ISIS. He was accompanied by the Ambassador to Iraq Douglas Silliman and the Consul General in Erbil Ken Gross.
The Kurdish officials included Karim Sinjari, the Interior Minister and acting Peshmerga Minister, and Falah Mustafa, head of the KRG’s Department of Foreign Relations.
Kurdish officials have announced their plans to hold a referendum on independence this year; however, the region’s parliament has not met since 2015.
About the internal issues of the Kurdistan Region, the US delegation showed their support for any steps forward and they stressed dialogue between the region’s components to overcome the problems, according to the statement.
"There is serious dialogue underway between the Kurdistan Region's political parties to resolve internal problems," read the KRG statement.
The international community has urged officials from the Kurdistan Region and Iraq to resolve outstanding issues like areas claimed by both Erbil and Baghdad through a national dialogue.
For his part, Barzani thanked the visit and appreciated support from the US in resolving pending issues between Erbil and Baghdad.
"The Kurdistan Region has hosted a large number of refugees fleeing from the terror. And over the past few months some 35,000 wounded from the fight to liberate Mosul have been treated in the Kurdistan Region, but there has not been enough help from Baghdad in this regard," the statement noted.
A high-level Kurdish delegation is headed to Washington to meet with principle members of the US National Security Council this week.
Kurdistan’s Council of Ministers agreed to a joint Peshmerga and US proposed plan that seeks to unify and reorganize the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in the next ten years, a government official told Rudaw on Sunday.
In March, the US State Department approved a possible sale of military equipment to the Peshmerga to an estimated cost of $295.6 million.
The US has provided training, arms, weapons and Peshmerga salaries in the fight against ISIS.