Brett McGurk, the White House Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa, met with the President of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) Bafel Talabani, the President of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) Masoud Barzani and the President of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Nechirvan Barzani on Tuesday.
The meetings took place during ongoing conflicts between the KDP and the PUK over the region’s parliamentary elections, transparency of how the region’s oil is handled, local income of the provinces, and the assassination of a former PUK colonel in Erbil in October.
McGurk and Talabani discussed coordination of national efforts to find solutions to recent political, economic, and security developments in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, and how to advance relations, PUK Media reported.
The US envoy also discussed with KRG President Nechirvan Barzani the tensions between Baghdad and Erbil over the oil and natural gas laws in the region, which Baghdad maintains are unconstitutional, Rudaw reported.
Barzani spoke of an opportunity to resolve issues on the basis of the constitution and federalism, with the establishment of a new Iraqi federal government, and McGurk said Washington was ready to expand relations with both parties and resolve ongoing disputes.
McGurk then met the KDP’s Masoud Barzani with the Special Presidential Coordinator for Global Infrastructure and Energy Security Amos Hochstein and the US Ambassador to Iraq Alina Romanowski.
Barzani called for “clean and fair” elections in the Kurdistan Region this year and said the party will accept “no excuse” for postponing them, Rudaw reported.
Meanwhile in Hasakah, northern Syria, the US Envoy to the Autonomous Administration Nicholas Grainger was meeting with the Kurdish National Unity Parties (PYNK), which operate within the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES), to discuss the recent political situation in the country.
The United States has informed Turkey of its concerns over any military action that would undermine efforts by the US-led global coalition and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) against the Islamic State (ISIS), Grainger said. “One of the priorities of our country’s administration is to support stability in the region and to prevent Turkey from launching any military action targeting northern Syria,” the envoy added.