World Bulletin / News Desk
The head of the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government said Tuesday that he had a "successful" meeting with the U.S. president and vice president, amid debates his government is seeking independence.
"I would like to communicate this message to the people of Kurdistan that our meeting at the White House was very successful," Masoud Barzani said at a reception given in his honor on at the Chamber of Commerce in Washington late Tuesday.
Barzani is expected to ask for U.S. support for his government during his visit but Washington is still backing a "unified" Iraq, the White House said Tuesday.
"It continues to be the view of the United States that a unified Iraq that's governed in an inclusive way is clearly in the best interest of Iraq's diverse population," said spokesman Josh Earnest.
The White House released a readout of the leaders’ meeting saying the fight against ISIL was the main topic of discussion.
Barzani's week-long visit to Washington has been discussed in the media as a diplomatic trip to convince the U.S. to directly provide arms to the Kurds rather than going through the Iraqi central government.
"It’s true that Kurdistan faced a lot of challenges, especially in confronting the most brutal terrorist organization of ISIL," Barzani said through his head of foreign relations, Felah Mustafa Bakeer, who translated his remarks.
He said with support of the U.S.-led coalition, peshmerga forces have managed to change the situation on the ground.
"The initiative is now in the hands of peshmerga, We have been able to clear a land of more than 20,000 square kilometers (12,000 square miles), of ISIL," he said. "Peshmergas were able to destroy the myth of ISIL being an invincible force."
The Kurdish president also said the Kurdistan region has hosted more than 1.5 million displaced persons from Iraq and refugees from Syria, despite economic challenges.
"I would like to assure you that Kurdistan will remain to be the safe haven for all those who flee violence," he said. "It will remain the beacon of all and also the land of tolerance regardless of national, ethnic, religious and ethnic background."
He also urged U.S. companies to do business in the region while thanking those already doing business there.Last Mod: 06 Mayıs 2015, 09:30