The Kurdistan Regional Government’s Masrour Barzani held a series of important high-level meetings in Munich during the Munich Security Conference.
These began on February 14: “is in Germany to take part in this year’s Munich Security Conference where he is expected to meet senior govt and security officials. He’s accompanied by KRG Spokesman Safeen Dizayee and KRG Representative to Germany Dilshad Barzani.”
On February 15 he met with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov. “Productive meeting with FM Sergey Lavrov — Discussed the historic relationship between our peoples; situation in Syria, and ways to increase trade and investment with Kurdistan Region and Iraq as a whole.” Then “Met Iraqi National Security Advisor Falih al-Fayyadh — Important to return to combined security mechanisms between Peshmerga and Iraqi Security Forces in the disputed territories. Defeating ISIL requires sustained cooperation.”
Also the same day “Fruitful meeting w/ CDU Leader and parliamentarians on the margins of MSC Germany’s support to Kurdistan Region changed the course of the war on ISIL. Challenges remain; important aid responds to needs, including KRG reforms.” He held another meeting with the Germans on February 16. “Parliamentary delegation led by Rudiger Lucassen — I thanked Germany’s intervention in 2014 to help confront ISIS, and its continued assistance to the displaced community. We also discussed progress in our relationship w/ the Federal Govt.” He also had a “Good dialogue with Germany’s Minister of Niels Annen about areas reclaimed from ISIS. Kurdistan Region wants to see services, infrastructure and security restored to promote the safe and dignified return of displaced families.” Then he met Germany’s Defense Minister, “Reaffirmed our shared commitment to the strong bilateral relationship. Discussed Germany’s important capacity building and training to Kurdistan Region and Iraq.”
Then the next day he met UN Special Envoy for Syria Pedersen I raised concerns about the future of the Kurdish people in Syria. Important that a negotiated outcome is based on talks with all communities and political factions to guarantee their rights and safety.”
After discussing Syria, he also met with the foreign minister of the KRG’s western neighbor, Iran. “We discussed recent progress towards a new KRG Cabinet and developments in Iraq and the region, including the situation in Syria.” This came amid reports that the KRG had suspended oil sales to Iran.
Then he also met key representatives of the KRG’s northern neighbor. “ubstantive exchange today with Defense Minister Hulusi Akar of Turkey during the second day of Munich Security Conference. We discussed regional developments and issues of bilateral importance.” The Kurdish flag was alongside the Iraqi flag at the meeting.
On Saturday February 16 he held talks with the UK Defense Secretary: “I reaffirmed our friendship and strong bilateral relations. On ISIL, we agreed its continued threat in Iraq, Syria and beyond requires sustained, global efforts. Thanked UK for support to Peshmerga,” Barzani tweeted.
Then he met with the American envoy for Iraq and Syria. “Productive meeting with DAS Andrew Peek, I emphasized the shared interest for Kurdistan Region and Iraq to restore combined security mechanisms between Peshmerga and Iraqi Security Forces in the disputed territories.” He also met US Syria envoy James Jeffrey. “They discussed the uptick in ISIS attacks in several provinces in Iraq, and developments in Syria.”
Why it is important
These important meetings underscore the KRG’s work to show that it is a key player in the region and a linchpin of security because of its position in northern Iraq bordering Syria, Iran and Turkey. Barzani’s meetings also covered the key allies of the KRG, including the US and Germany, countries that supported the KRG during the war on ISIS and also were part of the anti-ISIS Peshmerga training program, the KTCC.
Shoring up the Kurdistan region’s support and alliances is essential to guarantee stability, security and the economy. As the US withdraws from Syria it is important to the KRG that instability not arise. Also the controversies about US forces remaining in Iraq is important to Erbil and they have stressed their support for continuing US presence amid the ISIS threat.