US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in Baghdad on Monday. Photo: Official
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Stressing friendship with both Erbil and Baghdad, American’s top diplomat said he was "concerned and a bit saddened" by the recent differences between the central and regional governments.
"I think if both parties commit themselves to a unified Iraq, to a – to the Iraqi constitution, I think all differences can be addressed and the rights of all can be respected and Iraq will have a very secure and a prosperous future," US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in a meeting in Baghdad on Monday evening.
In a statement last week, the US State Department emphasized its stance that the "disputed" areas remain so and Iraq’s exerting federal control over the areas does not resolve their status.
In their meeting, Abadi told Tillerson
that he does not want to wage war against any of the people of Iraq and that defeating ISIS remained Iraq’s priority.
Iraqi forces and mainly Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi took control from the Peshmerga of the disputed areas of Kirkuk, Diyala, and Nineveh provinces last week. Clashes have continued this week, with the Peshmerga reporting they repelled Iraqi attacks near Rabia
Tillerson also met with Iraqi President Fuad Masum, a Kurd from Sulaimani, on Monday.
In their meeting, Masum said Iraq needed to draw on the expertise and experiences of others, particularly the United Nations, "to achieve positive and lasting results on the resolution of the problem of the disputed areas."
He praised the United States for their support in the war against ISIS and "the elimination of dictatorship and the legacy of the establishment of the federal democratic system," according to a statement from Masum’s office.