A screen grab of Antony Blinken with Barham Salih prior to Monday's meeting. Rudaw footage
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Barham Salih, the deputy secretary-general of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), met with US Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Erbil Monday to discuss the current political situation of the Kurdistan region and the fight against ISIS.
"The USA is not happy with the political stalemate of the Kurdistan region," Salih told Rudaw, following his meeting with Blinken.
The political stalemate in the Kurdistan region broke out when the speaker of the Kurdistan parliament, Yousif Mohammed, was blocked by the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party from entering Erbil on October 12. His denial of entry followed a series of demonstrations that took place in Sulaimani in early October over the delayed salaries of civil servants and a presidential impasse over Kurdistan region President Masoud Barzani's term, which officially ended on August 19.
Blinken met with Salih before he conducted meetings with Nechirvan Barzani, the prime minister of the Kurdistan region, and Masoud Barzani.
According to information obtained by Rudaw, Blinken discussed the fight against ISIS with both Barzanis, but the US' anger at political disputes between the main Kurdish political parties was the central point in his discussions with Salih.
Meanwhile, Fuad Hussein, the Barzani chief of staff, told Rudaw that "[Blinken] did not discuss the political stalemate with Masoud Barzani or Nechirvan Barzani, but rather most of the focus was on the fight against ISIS and economic crisis of the Kurdistan region."