KRG officials stress importance of continued US engagement on visit to Washington
WASHINGTON, Sept. 17, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — A senior delegation from the Kurdistan Region of Iraq concluded a weeklong visit to Washington and New York today, highlighting the successes in Iraqi Kurdistan since Iraq’s liberation, and calling on the US government to keep the Region in mind during the growing political crisis.
The delegation, which included the Chief of Staff to the President of the Kurdistan Region, Dr. Fuad Hussein, and the Head of the Department of Foreign Relations, Minister Falah Mustafa, highlighted a number of key issues including challenges that lie ahead in Iraq and developments in neighboring countries – including Syria and Turkey.
Dr. Hussein stressed the importance of continued American engagement in Iraq, particularly during this period of turmoil in Syria. “It is incumbent on the US to be balanced in its approach to all sides,” he said, reiterating the KRG commitment to the Iraqi constitution and to resolving outstanding issues with the federal government.
The KRG officials welcomed the United States’ continued support for a federal, democratic, and pluralistic Iraq. “The security and stability of the Kurdistan Region, along with US and other foreign direct investment, has allowed it to develop into a positive model for other areas of Iraq and the broader region as well,” said Minister Mustafa.
The delegation held important discussions with senior officials from the White House, State Department, Department of Defense, and Congress, including: Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Joe Lieberman (I-CT), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) as well as House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI) and Loretta Sanchez (D-CA). Additionally, the delegation attended a roundtable with the Kurdish American Congressional Caucus, hosted by Co-Chairman Joe Wilson (R-SC).
The delegation also met with the board members of the US Kurdistan Business Council and the Council’s chief executive, Retired General James Jones to discuss economic progress in the Kurdistan Region. While in Washington, the Kurdish officials met with a number of other former US government officials, members of the foreign diplomatic corps, and leading think tanks.
Dr. Hussein and Minister Mustafa attended a private roundtable discussion hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations earlier in the week and also met with the United Nation’s Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman, during the visit.
The message from US officials throughout the visit was that the United States is committed to Iraq and the Kurdistan Region and that the administration follows the situation in the wider region very closely.
SOURCE Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq