US delegation meets top Kurdish officials in Erbil
Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani and other local party and government leaders met on Wednesday, May 5, with a delegation of senior US diplomatic and national security officials, including National Security Council Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa Brett McGurk.

McGurk is well known to officials in Erbil, serving as the special envoy to the Global Coalition to counter Islamic State (ISIS) during the Obama and Trump administrations.
The delegation also included a number of other officials with deep experience in Iraq and the Region, including the State Department’s Counselor Derek Chollet and acting Assistant Secretary for Near East Affairs Joey Hood and Head of the Department of Defense’s Middle East Dana Stroul.
Following the meeting with President Barzani, the US officials met with Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Masrour Barzani.
According to a KRG readout, the two sides discussed the KRG’s reform efforts, particularly with regard to the Peshmerga, emphasizing the importance of the US’ continued support for the Region in the fight against ISIS.
The delegation also met with Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) leader Masoud Barzani for a political discussion about the upcoming Iraqi parliamentary elections, relations between Erbil and Baghdad, and inter-party relations in the Kurdistan Region.
The US officials also met with the leadership of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), including party co-presidents Lahur Sheikh Jangi and Bafel Talabani. KRG Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani was in the meeting with Prime Minister Barzani.
The meetings were the first in-person talks for those in the Kurdistan Region with officials from the Biden administration, which is keen to make progress on a number of fronts in the Middle East, including its Iran policy, the fight against ISIS, and economic development.
Before arriving in the Kurdistan Region, the US officials were in Bagdad for a series of meetings, including with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Kadhimi and Iraqi President Barham Salih. Earlier in the trip, they traveled to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
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