Prime Minister Masrour Barzani spoke at length today with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on issues of shared interest and concern.
On security developments, both strongly condemned rocket and drone attacks against the Kurdistan Region, Iraqi bases, and global coalition forces. They agreed on the continued need for global coalition forces in the country and support for the Peshmerga and Iraqi Security Forces in the fight against ISIS.
Looking inwards, Prime Minister Barzani updated Secretary Blinken on KRG’s aggressive reforms. The Prime Minister noted that the KRG has already increased revenues by organizing public finances. He urged Secretary Blinken to expand technical assistance and economic support to the KRG, and encourage U.S. investment in banking. On political developments, both agreed on the need and importance of more unity between Kurdish political factions.
During their conversation, Prime Minister Barzani and Secretary Blinken welcomed the passage of the federal budget law. The Prime Minister said KRG expects Baghdad to start payments as soon as possible, reaffirming KRG’s commitment to the law. He encouraged the US Secretary of State to help provide both Erbil and Baghdad the political space necessary to implement the budget and settle other disputes. He also urged the Secretary to personally intervene to ensure the Kurdistan Region receives ‘fair and equitable’ share of international loans to Iraq.
Prime Minister Barzani and Secretary Blinken also discussed the upcoming Iraqi parliamentary elections. They both expressed concern on nefarious groups trying to undermine a shared goal by the KRG, Iraq and the international community to hold free and credible elections and the partnership between KRG, Iraq and the United States.
Turning to Sinjar, the Prime Minister recalled his ongoing dialogue with Prime Minister Mustafa Kadhimi and other Iraqi leaders following the agreement. He and Secretary Blinken agreed on the importance of its full implementation.
They both agreed to continue to stay in close contact and work with likeminded partners in Iraq.