This was Barzani’s first meeting with Abdul-Mahdi since the latter became prime minister last year.
The meeting got off to a cordial start. They were relaxed and laughing while chatting in front of the cameras before going behind closed doors.
Barzani thanked Abdul-Mahdi “for his efforts towards improving relations” between their two governments, according to a statement from the KRG.
Relations between Erbil and Baghdad have improved dramatically since Abdul-Mahdi took the helm. The Iraqi parliament approved its 2019 budget with Kurdish backing and the Peshmerga and Iraqi army are in talks to conduct joint patrols in the disputed areas – two issues that have been major points of animosity.
Barzani said that the KRG is ready to continue talks and resolve their problems.
This “spirit of cooperation” between the federal and regional government is important for the program of Abdul-Mahdi’s government, his office stated in its own readout.
Iraq’s Minister of Finance Fuad Hussein, Minister of Oil Thamer al-Ghadhban, and National Security Advisor Falih al-Fayadh were also in attendance, as was KRG Minister of the Interior Karim Sinjari.