• Thursday, 23 May 2024

President Nechirvan Barzani: Shared interests and values bring the US and the Kurdistan Region together

Gulan Media March 8, 2023 News
President Nechirvan Barzani: Shared interests and values bring the US and the Kurdistan Region together

Shortly after their meeting, President Nechirvan Barzani and US Secretary of Defense General Loyed Austin, held a press conference about the contents of their discussions. The following is a readout of their joint press conference.

President Nechirvan Barzani:

“Good afternoon,

“I am very pleased to welcome here today Mr. Lloyd Austin, US Secretary of Defense, a longtime friend of the people of Kurdistan and Iraq. His visit is an important and clear message of US support for the Kurdistan Region and Iraq.

“We had a good meeting. We discussed the bilateral relations between the two sides on the basis of the agreement between Iraq and the United States, and we emphasized the need for continued support of the United States and the international allies to Iraq and the Kurdistan Region in the fight against terrorism. We also discussed the importance of cooperation between the Peshmerga and the Iraqi army to fight ISIS.

“We stressed the importance of continued support from the United States and the friendly countries to the reform process in the Ministry of Peshmerga and the reorganization of the Peshmerga. We assured them that we insist on reorganizing the Peshmerga and overcoming the obstacles. We will also continue our efforts to bring together, and to resolve the internal problems of the Kurdistan Region.

“We agreed that the resolution of Erbil-Baghdad issues will bring political, security and economic stability to Iraq. We agreed on the importance of supporting the Iraqi Federal Government and working together in the region to maintain stability. We also reiterated that the Kurdistan Region will always be a factor of peace and stability.

“Mr. Secretary,

“Welcome to Erbil again; we thank you for your special role in helping the Peshmerga. We thank the United States for its continued support to Iraq and the Kurdistan Region. Shared interests and values bring us together with the United States. Together we can maintain peace and stability in Iraq and preserve our common interests.

“Thank you very much for coming, have a nice day.”

US Secretary of Defense General Loyed Austin:

“Mr. President, it’s been great to see you today. And it’s great to be back in Erbil. For decades, we have worked shoulder to shoulder, including through some very difficult times… from Operation Provide Comfort to
our ongoing and shared fight against Daesh. Working together, the United States and Iraq, including the Iraqi Kurdistan Region, have taken great strides to restore Iraqi sovereignty.

“Through the Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh, we have liberated more than 50,000 square kilometers from the nightmare of Daesh… and freed more than 4.5 million Iraqis. So let me applaud the invaluable contributions to this fight made by the Kurdish Peshmerga, as part of Iraq’s Security Forces. Now, I should underscore that U.S. forces are ready to remain in Iraq—at the invitation of the Government of Iraq—to support the Iraqi-led fight against Daesh. And we’re glad to be able to support your forces and defend the Iraqi people.

“I also want to express my support for the Memorandum of Understanding that the Department of Defense signed last year with your Ministry of Peshmerga. That memorandum affirms our readiness to continue providing security assistance to your forces while we work together on institutional reforms. Daesh continues to threaten the lives and livelihoods of Iraq’s citizens. So our continued cooperation is essential. And so is the Kurdish Peshmerga’s coordination with the Iraqi Security Forces, including on Joint Brigades. Unfortunately, Daesh is not the only threat that this region faces. The United States condemns the repeated cross-border attacks from Iran. These attacks violate Iraqi sovereignty, put Iraqi lives in danger, and hold the Iraqi people back.

“The United States will continue to stand with the people of Iraq. For the country of Iraq to realize its full potential, Erbil and Baghdad must work together for the good of all Iraqis. And Kurdish leaders must put aside their divisions and come together to build a secure and prosperous Iraqi Kurdistan region. Mr. President, thanks again to you and your team for having me. And thanks for such a good discussion today. We look forward to strengthening our partnership even further.”