SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) Co-presidents Bafel Talabani and Lahur Sheikh Jangi met with a U.S. government’s delegation in Erbil on Wednesday.
The U.S. delegation included White House Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa Brett McGurk, U.S. State Department Counselor Derek Chollet, Acting Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs Joey Hood and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East Dana Stroul.
The PUK co-leaders and the delegation discussed the latest political, security and economic developments in the Kurdistan Region and Iraq as well as ways to strengthen relations between both sides, their office said in a statement.
The co-leaders stressed the continuity of U.S. role in helping Iraq and the Region in all fields, expressing their appreciation for the important role the United States has played in supporting Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, including in the war on counterterrorism, the statement read.
They also reaffirmed the need for continuity and joint works, especially to confront Islamic State (ISIS) militants and to eliminate their sleeper cells, according to the statement.
The Kurdish leaders expressed their views on the current situation, issues, crises, and ways to solve the problems and overcome political and security challenges to the U.S. delegation.
Talabani and Sheikh Jangi emphasized “the PUK’s unchanged stance for unity and reconciliation between the political parties in the Kurdistan Region and elimination of political conflicts and tensions”, the statement said.
They considered the formation of a “broad national front important for one speech and unity on the topics that have national and patriotic interests,” the statement cited them as saying.
Regarding Erbil-Baghdad relations, the PUK co-leaders reiterated that “the use of dialogue language, mutual understanding and constitution are the only way to resolve the pending issues between the Kurdish government and the federal government, especially in the disputed areas, which are now in danger due to ISIS threats.”
They also insisted on holding a “clean and pure election far from interferences,” according to the statement.
The U.S. official, for their part, stressed on the continuation of their duty in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, the co-leader’s office said. They also reiterated the U.S. commitment to support tranquility and security in the Region and Iraq.