President Barzani Meets US Assistant Secretary of State Brett McGurk
President Massoud Barzani met with the US Assistant Secretary of State for Iraq, Brett McGurk, on Monday March 3, 2014 to discuss security and political developments in Iraq, tensions between Erbil and Baghdad, and the situation of Syrian refugees in Kurdistan.
Mr. McGurk extended the gratitude of both US Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry to President Barzani and the KRG for their humanitarian aid to the more than 200,000 thousand Syrian refugees in Kurdistan.
He added that US President Obama would be happy to welcome President Barzani whenever the President intends to visit the Unites States. The senior State Department official added that there are now concerted efforts underway for the US Congress to pass legislation to remedy the issue of visa for the people of the Kurdistan Region.
They also discussed relations between Erbil and Baghdad, including the upcoming Iraq parliamentary elections. On the withholding of KRG employee salaries by Baghdad, Mr McGurk said his country has insisted that this problem should be resolved as soon as possible and dialogue be sought by all sides.
For his part, President Barzani reiterated that the upcoming Iraqi elections must be held on time. He said the salary and budget issues with Baghdad had nothing to do with political disputes and that the Baghdad government is using it as a pressure card against the Region. He said Baghdad’s decision was unlawful and a violation of the rights of citizens of the Kurdistan Region. No one can usurp this right from our people, he added.