ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi hosted a meeting in Baghdad on Monday with Kurdistan Regional Government Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani.
The two leaders discussed developments in Erbil-Baghdad relations and the ongoing process of creating a new Iraqi government following Iraq’s May 12 parliamentary election.
According to a statement released by the Iraqi prime minister’s office, both leaders stressed the need for continued cooperation, especially between Peshmerga and Iraqi forces to address shared security challenges.
The meeting, which was also attended by Fuad Hussein, the chief of staff of the Kurdistan Region presidency, covered topics of shared interest “to the unity and interest of Iraq”.
“The importance of communication and dialogue that bolsters joint national work was reiterated, after efforts in achieving victory over Daesh [ISIS] terrorist gangs was intensified and cooperation between security forces in its different branches and the Peshmerga and the importance of preserving this cooperation to fend off any danger to Iraq,” the statement added.
Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and the Peshmerga launched a successful joint operation against ISIS positions in the mountains near Mahkmour earlier in July. Unofficial discussions are also underway to allow the Peshmerga to return to the disputed territories, particularly Kirkuk, Saladin, Diyala, and the Hamrin Mountains, to combat ISIS remnants in these areas.
Both sides agreed the next Iraqi government must support the wishes of Iraqis economically, offering better services and job creation, the statement added.
The KRG is yet to issue its own statement on the dialogue.
The meeting comes amid mass protests across the Shiite majority provinces of southern Iraq, as people demand jobs, services, a change in the governance system, and the eradication of corruption.
Abadi’s Nasr, or Victory, alliance came third in parliamentary elections in the spring despite international backing. The Sayirun alliance of Muqtada al-Sadr and the Iraqi Communist Party emerged with the most seats. With splits between the powerful Shiite parties, however, Iraq is yet to establish a new coalition government.
Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) emerged as the strongest Kurdish party in the election. Together with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Region’s smaller parties, they hope to exert greater influence in Baghdad.
This is a developing story…