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PM Barzani Calls for Full Coordination with Baghdad to Avert "Great Possibility" of IS Resurgence

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Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani has called for full coordination between Erbil and Baghdad so as to avert the"great possibility" of the resurgence of the Islamic State (IS) in the country.

Barzani made the remarks during an exclusive interview with France 24, where he argued that the insurgent group still remains a major security threat, adding that the US and Coalition forces are needed to stay in Iraq to foil any potential plots of the IS.

"We do believe that their presence is still very much needed because ISIS is a major threat. It's not completely defeated. It's not eradicated. It can regroup and attack as they have in many different places," he stated.

He also revealed that the Islamic State jihadist group has more members today than it had in 2013, and that "the root causes which led to its rise have not been adequately addressed."

Barzani also shed light on the current situation in Baghdad and other Iraqi major cities where people have been protesting against the government for months. He reiterated his support for the legitimate demands of the protesters, but reminded that what happens nowadays in Iraq is a result of the bad governance in the country for the past years.

"What we see in Baghdad is actually the result of bad governance for the last fifteen, sixteen years, and many of the protesters that are now protesting and coming to the streets are asking for reforms, for tackling corruption, for a better government, which we fully support the legitimate demands of people," Barzani said.

The Kurdish premier noted that Iraq's caretaker PM Adil Abdul Mahdi, who resigned from his position in November to address the demands of the protesters, tried his best but that he failed to enjoy the support that he deserved from other political factions to continue and implement his agenda.

On the nomination of Mohammed Allawi as the country's prime minister-designate, Barzani hoped that he will enjoy much more support from both people and the political factions.

He also wrote on Twitter that "my government is committed to improving ties with #Baghdad and we’ve made important progress. Focus must now be given to implementing agreements of mutual benefit to the Kurdistan Region and the rest of Iraq."
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