US’ Pompeo stresses political role of Iraq’s KRG

By Arif Yusuf and Ali Jawad

ERBIL, Iraq (AA) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday stressed the role of the Iraqi northern region governed by Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in the country’s politics and shaping the country’s leadership.

In a phone call that KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani received from Pompeo, the latter “pointed to the significant role" of the Kurdish region in Iraq's political process, said a KRG press office statement on Sunday.

The two officials discussed, according to the KRG statement, “political developments in Iraq, including the process of the election by the parliament of the new Iraqi president and the formation of the new government.”

Pompeo stressed, during the call, the KRG’s “significance and active role it holds in the political process of Iraq and how they will help shape the country’s branches of leadership, in Parliament, in the government, and in the presidency,” read the press statement.

U.S. relations with Iraq and the Kurdish region as well as the latest developments in the wider region were also discussed, said the statement.

Since Saturday, Barzani has been holding meetings in Baghdad on the formation of an anticipated new Iraqi government.

The Iraqi parliament, elected in 2012, is scheduled to hold its second session on Tuesday, but the agenda of the session does not include voting to elect a new president.

Separately, a source in the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) headed by former KRG Premier Massoud Barzani said on Sunday that the party will nominate Fuad Hussein, former chief of staff to the KRG presidency, for the raq’s president.

Current KRG Premier Nechirvan Barzani is also the KDP’s deputy leader.

On Thursday Pompeo called Mohammed al-Halbousi, Iraq’s recently elected parliament Speaker.

Within 30 days of its first session, which was held earlier this month, parliament should elect — by a two-thirds majority — the country’s next president, according to Iraq’s Constitution.

The new president will then task the majority bloc in parliament with drawing up a government, which must be referred back to the assembly for approval.