Washington, DC, USA - A delegation headed by His Excellency Karim Sinjari, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Minister of the Interior and Acting Minister of Peshmerga Affairs, was in Washington last week met with US Administration officials and members of Congress, as well as humanitarians and experts.
The delegation included Director-General of KRG Joint Crisis Coordination Center (JCC) Hoshang Mohamed and KRG Representative to the United States Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman. Minister Sinjari was the first KRG official to visit Washington in 2018.
Minister Sinjari and the delegation met at the State Department with Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan discussed a range of issues, focusing on the importance of dialogue between Erbil and Baghdad and the progress that has been made toward reopening Erbil and Slemani international airports.
Since September 2017, the Baghdad Civil Aviation Authority has forbidden commercial international flights from using airports in the Kurdistan Region. The embargo has had serious negatives effects on the lives of millions of people in Kurdistan and the rest of Iraq.
The delegation was hosted for separate meetings at the State Department with Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Ambassador Michael Kozak and Deputy Assistance Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs Andrew Peek.
Minister Sinjari briefed a group of Senators in Congress about the humanitarian, political, and security situation in Kurdistan. The roundtable briefing was hosted by Senator Jim Inhofe and included Senator Jack Reed, Senator Joni Ernst (R-Illinois), Senator Mike Enzi, Senator Ron Johnson, Senator Cory Gardner, and Senator Jeanne Shaheen, who sit on key Senate committees including the Armed Service Committee, Homeland Security Committee, and Foreign Relations Committee.
The delegation also met in New York with UN Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Ursula Mueller and updated her on the humanitarian situation in Kurdistan and discuss the role of UN in assisting the displaced and refugees.
In a lunch briefing with member of the US-Kurdistan Business Council, the Minister thanked the members for their commitment to the long-term economic development of Kurdistan. He highlighted the important role that private companies had played in development over the years, and updated them on the situation in Kurdistan in general.