Newscast Media BAGHDAD—US Secretary of State John Kerry has again emphasized
the need for an inclusive government as he met Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani.
The UN, meanwhile, says over a thousand people have been killed in Iraq in June.
During his second unannounced visit to Iraq, where he met Iraq’s Kurdish leader
Massoud Barazani in the regional capital Irbil, Kerry said “this a very critical time for
Iraq and the government formation challenge is the central challenge that we face.”
His visit in Irbil comes after Kerry met Iraq’s prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, for
closed-door talks in Baghdad on Monday.
Kerry reiterated Washington’s demand to “produce the broad-based, inclusive
government that all the Iraqis I have talked to are demanding.” The US hopes that a
power-sharing government will contain, if not end, sectarian strife in the country.
Barzani told Kerry that Kurds are seeking “a solution for the crisis that we have
witnessed”, but warned that it had created a “new reality and a new Iraq.”
Iraqi Kurdish forces, known as peshmerga, have been the only forces that have
managed to defend their territory against fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and
Syria (ISIS) group, a Sunni insurgency that has overtaken several key areas in Iraq’s
west and north.
Kerry acknowledged on Tuesday that they had been “really critical” in helping restrain
Barzani has repeatedly blamed al-Maliki, who is a Shiite, for the current wave of
violence in the country. Speaking to broadcaster CNN before Tuesday’s talks, Barzani
called for al-Maliki to step down.
Pressed on whether Iraqi Kurds would seek independence, Barzani said that “the time
is here for the Kurdistan people to determine their future and the decision of the
people is what we are going to uphold.”
Kurds make up 20 percent of Iraq’s population and are, therefore, crucial for any
political solution. The Kurdish north is home to several vast oil fields that have led to
relative prosperity and economic stability in the region.
Source: Deutsche Welle