Leading a high-ranking delegation, Kurdistan Regional Government Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, arrived in Baghdad yesterday morning. The delegation was received at Baghdad Internal Airport by the Federal Government of Iraq Deputy Prime Minister, Baha al-A’raji.
Prime Minister Barzani and his delegation proceeded to the FGI headquarters where they were welcomed by Prime Minister Dr. Haider al-Abadi.
Dr. al-Abadi expressed his pleasure for the visit and hoped it would lead to settlement of all outstanding issues. He said, “I do not think there are any unresolvable issues between Erbil and Baghdad. Iraq gathers us all together and if we do not reach agreement both sides would be harmed. The only path ahead of us is, therefore, to reach agreement”.
Dr. al-Abadi said Iraq’s economy is in a bad situation, “the price of oil has fallen sharply and our citizens have many expectations from the government, adding to that the current military situation in the country. However, reaching agreement will pave the way and enable us to overcome all obstacles.” He expressed his optimism for reaching such agreement between Baghdad and Erbil.
Thanking Dr. al-Abadi for the warm reception, Prime Minister Barzani said, “I am happy to see you here again and we do not want our visit to Baghdad to make headlines, but to be seen as something normal”.
Prime Minster Barzani congratulated Dr. al-Abadi on his election as Iraq’s new prime minister and said, “With the start of your administration, the issues will move towards settlement. We do not want to talk about who was responsible for the deterioration of the relations between Erbil and Baghdad, but there are signals indicating your nomination will open up a new page for all of Iraq.
Prime Minster Barzani also said the issues could not be solved overnight and expressed his readiness to visit Baghdad whenever needed in order to reach a final agreement. He stressed that a strategy is needed for resolving the issues.
The two sides also discussed the latest situation in the fight against the Islamic State terrorist organisation, also known as ISIS. Prime Minister Barzani noted that ISIS is a threat to the country and the entire region.
He highlighted the economic and financial crisis has created a major challenge and the fight against ISIS has deepened the crisis for both Erbil and Baghdad. He expressed his readiness to offer all necessary cooperation and coordination in the fight against terrorism.
The two sides also discussed the situation in ISIS-held territories and the plans to liberate them. The cooperation between the Kurdistan Region, Baghdad, and the allied forces was another topic discussed in the meeting.