Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani met with US President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden at the White House on Tuesday, where they underscored their joint commitment to defeating ISIS.
President Barzani thanked President Obama, Vice President Biden, the Administration, Congress and people of America for standing by the people of Kurdistan by making a timely intervention when Kurdistan was attacked by ISIS terrorists. He also thanked them for the continued support to the Peshmerga and the air strikes against ISIS.
‘Thank you for the assistance and support you have provided which has enabled us to liberate territory and protect our people as well as the refugees and displaced people who fled to Kurdistan,’ President Barzani said. He said Kurdistan needs further support to confront the military, economic and humanitarian challenges it faces.
‘I am pleased that the successful coordination between our forces on the ground and yours in the air has meant that no military targets have been missed and no civilians have been hit,’ said President Barzani.
He outlined the ongoing humanitarian crisis facing Kurdistan which is sheltering over 1.6million Arabs, Turkmen, Christians, Yezidis and Syrian refugees.
President Obama welcomed President Barzani and his delegation and expressed his appreciation for the courage and sacrifices of the Peshmerga and offered his condolences for those who had lost their lives. He and Vice President Biden reiterated their commitment to continuing the fight against ISIS and to providing assistance to the Peshmerga. President Obama thanked President Barzani for the refuge Kurdistan has offered to the religious and ethnic minorities that have fled ISIS, saying that it is part of the reason why the international community has respect for the Kurdish people. He also said he had studied Kurdish history and knew the challenges the Kurdish people had faced.
The two sides also discussed relations between Erbil and Baghdad and the landmark December agreement which is enacted in Iraq’s Budget Law. President Barzani said the Kurdistan Regional Government is committed to the agreement and expects Baghdad to honour its part also. They spoke about Mosul and the joint effort that would be needed, including by Sunni forces, to retake the city. President Barzani said Erbil, Baghdad, the US and coalition countries were coordinating closely. The leaders also discussed wider regional issues and the future of the region after ISIS has been defeated.