US Defense Secretary James Matisse arrived in Arbil on Tuesday to meet leaders of the Kurdistan region, led by the regional president Massoud Barzani.
A source familiar with the news for the twilight News, that Matisse arrived shortly to Arbil from Baghdad after meeting with officials of the Iraqi government, following his arrival today to Baghdad on an undeclared visit.
He pointed out that the US minister was received by both Qubad Talabani, deputy head of the provincial government, Fouad Hussein, head of the Office of the Presidency of the region and Karim Shankali, Minister of the Interior and Falah Mustafa, foreign affairs official of the provincial government.
He added that the US official will meet with the leaders of the region, headed by Massoud Barzani to discuss the war against the referendum and the referendum on independence scheduled for next month.
Reuters quoted a US official as saying that Matisse would urge Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani to “cancel the referendum.”
Last year, the Pentagon signed an agreement with Kurdish Peshmerga forces to supply them with weapons and equipment worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
“The memorandum of understanding will soon expire,” the US official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“Mattis could use it as a bargaining chip,” he said.
Announced the leader of the current national wisdom Abdullah al-Zaidi on Tuesday, an expected visit to representatives of the National Alliance to the Kurdistan region to resolve the outstanding problems between the center and the region.
Zaidi said in a statement to «Journal News» that “the delegation of the National Alliance, who met with the Kurdish negotiating delegation in Baghdad will visit the Kurdistan region within the next two weeks to discuss the outstanding problems between the center and the region within the Iraqi constitution.”
He added that “the delegation consists of all the political forces in the National Alliance, excluding the Sadrist movement.”
He pointed out that “the delegation will identify the outstanding problems between the Center and the region and put a mechanism to resolve them under a specified period of time.”
The Kurdish delegation visited Baghdad and met with political and government parties last week, to discuss the subject of the referendum and bring the views closer.
Iraqi warplanes have dropped thousands of leaflets in Tal Afar, war media cell announced in a statement Tuesday.
The leaflet has included the latest news of the Iraqi victories against ISIS in the city, the statement read.
It added added that the leaflets contained instructions to the residents to stay away from ISIS strongholds as well as a warning to ISIS terrorists to lay down their arms and surrender to avoid being killed.
The offensive to recapture Tal Afar from ISIS terrorists started on Saturday amid support from US-led coalition.
Adil Murad, a leading figure within Iraq’s Patriotic Union of Kurdistan PUK, deplored Tuesday the insistence to conduct the independence referendum after it has been rejected by domestic, regional, and international parties.
He called on Kurdistan Regional Government President Masoud Barzani to delay the referendum for at least two years.
Murad said that it is wildly inappropriate to ram the referendum down the throat of the Iraqi state, exploiting its weakness.
He confirmed that the referendum is a right for the Kurds but it should be conducted via dialogue with Baghdad in accordance with constitution.
Murad warned that conducting the referendum next month could be dangerous as the friendly countries may take steps against it.
On June 7, Barzani met with Kurdistan political figures and parties and agreed to hold an independence referendum on September 25. They also agreed to hold parliamentary and presidential elections soon after the referendum.
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