US State Department Spokesperson, Marie Harf announced the travel itinerary of Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government’s (KRG) President Massoud Barzani Thursday.
“President [Barack] Obama will also join Vice President [Joe] Biden in welcoming President Barzani to the White House,” she said regarding the KRG head’s first official visit to the US.
“[Barzani] will meet with administration officials, including here at the State Department with Deputy Secretary Tony Blinken on Wednesday, to discuss a range of issues including the US’ strong and continued support to Iraqi Kurdistan and the Kurdish people,” she continued.
According to Harf, “the status of ongoing political initiatives to address the needs of the Iraqi people, and to foster cooperation across all communities” will be discussed during the visit.
The announcement of Barzani’s trip was first made by the chiefs of staff of the KRG’s presidency, Fuad Hussein stated on Wednesday that Barzani would also seek support in his efforts for Kurdish independence in Iraq.
“The issue is not something new. The president has previously sent Barack Obama a letter, which was focused on regional security issues as well as the issue of Kurdish independence,” Hussein told the KRG’s state run Rudaw news agency.
Barzani announced last year that the KRG would vote to hold a referendum of independence once the war with ISIS is concluded, stating also that the areas of Sinjar and Kirkuk would be able to vote on whether to join the currently autonomous region of northern Iraq.
Sinjar and Kirkuk, despite being home to Kurdish majorities, are currently excluded from the KRG but remain under the control of the Peshmerga.