Kurdistan Region’s top security advisor Masrour Barzani met with Brett McGurk, US special presidential envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS, in Erbil, Rudaw reported.
The US official who is on a tour in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region post-Kurdish referendum pledged his country’s support for Erbil as a constitutional entity within Iraq.
Barzani urged Iraq to avoid using Iraqi forces to settle their differences.
Erbil has complained the Iraqi government aims to derecognize the Kurdistan Regional Government especially in the draft budget bill for 2018, despite being enshrined in the US-backed Iraqi constitution that came into effect in 2005 following the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
McGurk, who himself was in Baghdad and worked closely on the 2005 constitution, met with Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani on Thursday, a day after he met with the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in Baghdad. He urged the two sides to engage in talks in light of the constitution to address their differences.
McGurk said that they are against using military means to settle differences between the two governments, saying that Washington will do its best to make bilateral dialogue happen, the statement from the Kurdish security council read.
The US envoy said they are behind a strong and united Kurdish government within Iraq.
"Brett McGurk reaffirmed his country's support for the [Kurdistan] Regional Government as a constitutional entity," the press release stated, adding that he hoped that the Kurdistan Region will prosper as a united and strong region within the framework of the Iraqi constitution.
Masrour Barzani, who criticized the use of the Iraqi forces against the Kurdistan Region, expressed the Iraqi constitution can be implemented through direct negotiations between Erbil and Baghdad.
"Implementing the constitution through unconstitutional means is not possible," Barzani told McGurk, making reference to the October confrontation between the Kurdish and Iraqi forces that killed 60 Peshmerga and injured another 150. The Iraqi army has not released any casualty figures.
Barham Salih, the former KRG prime minister and now head of the newly-founded Coalition for Democracy and Justice (CDJ) also met with Brett McGurk.
Salih said he emphasized the need for dialogue and stabilization between Erbil and Baghdad based on the Iraqi constitution. He added that the current challenges in Kurdistan and Iraq can be turned into an opportunity to help the economy and enhance the democratic process.
This comes as the crisis in Kirkuk has escalated. Peshmerga forces have been fending off attacks launched by the Iraqi forces.
Tensions between the two sides over the future of Kurdistan have been high since the Kurds voted for independence in a September referendum.
The oil-rich Kirkuk Governorate has emerged as a flashpoint in the crisis as it is claimed by both sides.
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