KRG del­e­ga­tion meets se­nior ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials in Wash­ing­ton

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS -

Pres­i­dent Ma­soud Barzani’s Chief of Staff, Dr Fuad Hus­sein, and Head of the KRG Depart­ment of For­eign Re­la­tions, Min­is­ter Falah Mustafa Bakir, con­cluded their of­fi­cial trip to Wash­ing­ton with sev­eral key meet­ings to­day.

The del­e­ga­tion vis­ited the White House to meet with Deputy Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­vi­sor Tony Blinken, where they dis­cussed the grow­ing threat posed by the Is­lamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). Dr Hus­sein con­veyed the grat­i­tude of Kur­dis­tan’s peo­ple and lead­er­ship to the Pres­i­dent of the United States. In the meet­ing, the im­por­tance of con­tin­u­ing and in­ten­si­fy­ing US-led airstrikes was raised, along with the pro­vi­sion of fur­ther support for Kur­dis­tan’s Pesh­merga forces. The del­e­ga­tion pointed to the need for mil­i­tary equip­ment, in­tel­li­gence shar­ing, and train­ing in or­der to de­grade and de­stroy the ter­ror­ist group.

At the Pen­tagon, Dr Fuad and Min­is­ter Mustafa met with As­sis­tant Sec­re­tary of De­fence Derek Chol­let and other se­nior de­fence of­fi­cials. They urged the US ad­min­is­tra­tion to di­rectly arm Pesh­merga forces with heavy weaponry. After sev­eral Iraqi Army di­vi­sions col­lapsed in June, ISIS ter­ror­ists cap­tured Amer­i­can­made mil­i­tary equip­ment and are well armed with ve­hi­cles ca­pa­ble of with­stand­ing light arms at­tacks. The del­e­ga­tion noted that the US Gov­ern­ment con­sid­ers ISIS a threat to Kur­dis­tan, the Mid­dle East, and the world, and while they were in Wash­ing­ton Sec­re­tary of De­fence Hagel tes­ti­fied be­fore Congress that ISIS poses an im­mi­nent threat to ev­ery in­ter­est that Amer­ica has. The KRG seeks mod­ern, heavy weaponry to con­tinue de­feat­ing ISIS ter­ror­ists on the bat­tle­field.

At the State Depart­ment, Dr Hus­sein and Min­is­ter Mustafa met Ms Anne C Richard, As­sis­tant Sec­re­tary of Pop­u­la­tion, Refugees, and Mi­gra­tion, to work on poli­cies and strate­gies to bet­ter pro­vide hu­man­i­tar­ian re­lief for the 1.4 mil­lion refugees and IDPs shel­tered in the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion. They dis­cussed po­lit­i­cal and se­cu­rity is­sues with Prin­ci­pal Deputy As­sis­tant Sec­re­tary for the Mid­dle East Ger­ald Feier­stein. Com­bat­ing ter­ror­ism fi­nanc­ing was the topic in a meet­ing with Deputy As­sis­tant Sec­re­tary for Counter-Threat Fi­nance and Sanc­tions Peter Har­rell. Both sides agreed to co­op­er­ate on a num­ber of fronts to dis­rupt and de­plete ISIS fi­nanc­ing. A counter-threat fi­nance and sanc­tions del­e­ga­tion will be vis­it­ing the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion in the com­ing days to ar­range fur­ther col­lab­o­ra­tion in this re­gard.

The del­e­ga­tion was in­vited to a pri­vate lunch by Iraqi Am­bas­sador to Wash­ing­ton Luk­man Faily. He asked the del­e­ga­tion to con­vey, on be­half of the peo­ple of Iraq, his grat­i­tude to the Pesh­merga forces for tak­ing the of­fen­sive against ISIS and host­ing more than one mil­lion Iraqi IDPs.

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