Kurdish Chancellor Masrour Barzani is leading a high-level delegation this week to Washington, D.C., where they will meet principle members of the US National Security Council (NSC).
“On Monday, Chancellor Barzani will lead a high-level delegation from the Kurdistan Region to meet principle members of the US National Security Council,” read a statement from the Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC).
It is Barzani’s second official visit to Washington in the past six months and first since US President Donald Trump took office in January.
“The Chancellor will underscore Kurdistan’s future bilateral relations with Iraq and the United States,” read the statement. “Barzani will discuss the importance of continued US military and political support to the Kurdistan Region and its Peshmerga Forces.”
The NSC is the White House’s primary advisory body on foreign and domestic security issues. Its members are selected by the current president and include Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Secretary of Energy Rick Perry.
In addition to KRSC Chancellor Barzani, the Kurdish delegation includes Fuad Hussein, chief of staff to the Kurdish President, and the Kurdistan Regional Government’s representative to the United States, Her Excellency Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman.
On Tuesday, Barzani will speak at the influential and conservative D.C. think tank, the Heritage Foundation.
“Chancellor Barzani will also outline strategies to address Iraq’s unending conflict,” the Heritage Foundation wrote. “[He] will give insights on the anti-ISIL campaign; immediate and long-term political challenges in Iraq and the broader Middle East.”
Kurdistan’s Council of Ministers agreed to a joint Peshmerga and US proposed plan that seeks to unify and reorganize the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in the next ten years, a government official told Rudaw on Sunday.
In March, the US State Department approved a possible sale of military equipment to the Peshmerga to an estimated cost of $295.6 million.
Kurdish officials have also emphasized the need for addressing the defeat of ISIS beyond the battlefield.
“Let me tell you that we don’t think that ISIS is the end of terrorism. ISIS can be defeated but if political structure in Iraq and the Middle East is not solved and if there are not new approaches to look at how it should be structured, we do believe that there is a possibility that other terror organisations may reappear as we have seen that ISIS is an extension of Al-Qaeda,” Barzani said on his last visit to the US capital.