ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – A visiting senior British official welcomed the improved dialogue between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Baghdad. Alistair Burt, UK Minister of State for the Middle East, met with KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani on Friday night, the KRG stated on Saturday. He welcomed Erbil’s decision to support the new Iraqi government, according to the KRG statement, and also encouraged ongoing efforts to form the new KRG cabinet. The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), which won a big lead over its rivals but not an outright majority, is leading talks with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and Gorran, who came second and third. Nearly four months after the vote, the parties are still discussing how to divvy up roles in the new government. Burt said Britain was committed to supporting Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, according to the KRG statement. Barzani thanked Burt for London’s assistance in resolving the recent stalemate between Erbil and Baghdad.Both sides agreed there must be continued coordination in anti-ISIS efforts in order to prevent the extremist group from launching a resurgence in Iraq. Britain is part of the global anti-ISIS coalition and aided the Peshmerga during the peak of the conflict. Burt also met with Archbishop Bashar Warda, Chaldean archbishop of Erbil, to discuss British assistance in making the Iraq and the Kurdistan Region safe for minorities.
A.Burt, British FCO Minister of State for the Middle East /Min of State for Int’l Dev.
discussing Britain’s global review into religious persecution and how to stop the flight of minorities from Iraq/Kurdistan.
Religious freedom will bring plurality, peace and reconciliation.
— bishopwarda (@bishopwarda) January 26, 2019