Kurdistan cannot afford any more IDPS, PM warns US officials

By Rudaw 2 hours ago

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region—The Kurdistan Region, troubled with the financial crisis and the war against the Islamic State, cannot afford the upcoming wave of displaced people from Mosul if it is not helped by the international community, Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani told a high level US delegation Thursday evening.

In its third and last meeting in Erbil, the US delegation met with Barzani and Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani.

The US delegation was headed by Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken, accompanied by the US President’s special envoy to the coalition fighting ISIS, Brett McGurk, and the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs, Joseph Pennington.

“Given the current situation, the Kurdistan Region cannot afford to receive any more internally displaced people,” read a statement issued by the Kurdistan Regional Government following the meeting.

“That is why Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani deemed it necessary for the international community to support the Kurdistan Region and Iraq so that it can provide necessary services to those displaced people expected to head towards the Kurdistan Region after the Mosul operation.”

The statement said the US delegation was thankful of Kurdish efforts in hosting the Iraqi internally displaced people (IDPs) and Syrian refugees, and said that “because of the Mosul operation, a large number of displaced people is expected to head towards the Kurdistan Region. That is why it is necessary for the international community to help the Kurdistan Region. The delegation said they will continue their aid to Kurdistan Region”.

On Wednesday, while in Baghdad, Blinken announced that the US was committing a further $181 million in humanitarian assistance to Iraq, “to address critical humanitarian needs, including those expected to occur with Iraq’s planned military offensive to liberate Mosul from Da’esh [Islamic State, ISIS] occupation,” according to a statement issued by the State Department.

The US and Erbil officials also discussed relations between the Kurdistan Region and the Iraqi central government.

Barzani said in their meeting that Erbil and Baghdad have good relations and coordination with respect to combating terror and, “there should be strong and good coordination between Erbil and Baghdad in other aspects, too, in particular with regard to helping those areas that will be liberated from the Islamic State”.

On August 29, a top Kurdish delegation headed by Barzani visited Baghdad to meet with Iraq's Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi regarding production and export of oil.