ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Iraq’s Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ al-Sudani on Thursday made an unannounced visit to Erbil, meeting with the Kurdistan Region’s top officials. Sudani was received by Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani at the Erbil International Airport.
The Iraqi premier held a meeting with Masoud Barzani, leader of the Region’s ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).
“The meeting included discussions on a wide range of national issues, reviewing the progress of government program implementation, and addressing key security and political developments at the regional level. The ongoing tragic events in the Gaza Strip and the Zionist aggression against the Palestinian people were also a focal point of the discussions,” read a statement from Sudani’s office.
Sudani also attended a meeting with Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani.
“The meeting included discussions on various financial and political matters at the national level. Emphasis was placed on the importance of coordinating efforts to support the government in executing its program, which centers around enhancing services and elevating economic and living standards in all parts of Iraq,” said Sudani’s office in a separate statement.
“The meeting also addressed the upcoming parliamentary elections in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, scheduled for next February. There was an emphasis on the need to support the Independent High Electoral Commission’s efforts to ensure fair and transparent elections that align with the expectations and desires of the citizens in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq,” it added.
Hours after the surprise visit, a pro-Iran militia group targeted Erbil province’s Harir air base which has hosted US-led global coalition forces for years. The attack set the air base’s fuel storage facility on fire.
The Islamic Resistance in Iraq, the pro-Iran group which claimed the attack, has claimed responsibility for dozens of drone and rocket attacks against US troops in the Kurdistan Region, Iraq and Syria since last month, attributing them to Washington’s support for Israel in its war against Palestinian Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip.
One of the pressing issues between Erbil and Baghdad is the fate of Kurdistan Region’s share in the federal budget. The Region has relied on irregular payments from the Iraqi government to pay its civil servants since an arbitration case between Baghdad and Ankara in March halted the flow of the Kurdish oil to the international markets.
The representatives of the Iraqi government and oil companies operating in the Kurdistan Region on Wednesday held their first meeting in Dubai, discussing the fate of the Region’s oil exports.
President Barzani on Friday said Baghdad’s failure to pay suitable fees to oil producers is one of the main obstacles to resuming oil exports through Turkey.