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Kurdistan president: Not the right time for withdrawal of coalition forces

Prime Minister of Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), Nechirvan Barzani holds a press conference in Erbil, Iraq on January 27, 2019 [Hemn Baban/Anadolu Agency]

Now is not the right time for the withdrawal of US-led coalition forces from Iraq, President of Iraq’s Kurdistan Region, Nechirvan Barzani, said yesterday.

The fight against Daesh is not yet over, Barzani explained, adding that there remain that serious threats against Iraq and Kurdistan, which Iraq cannot overcome on its own.

Speaking to Germany’s Bild newspaper, Barzani stressed that Iraq needs the support of its neighbours and friends in the international community, adding that “there is definitely a danger if Iraq chooses to go the wrong way. We hope that we can all work together to restore stability, safety and prosperity to the people of Iraq.”

“We do not want the Kurdistan region and Iraq to be turned into a battlefield to resolve disputes and resolve confrontations,” he said, noting that “the time has come to take steps to help Iraq.”

READ: Iraq’s Kurds weigh fall out from US, Iran conflict 

“We believe that the war against terrorism is not over. The Kurdistan region and all of Iraq, as always, need the help of the international coalition forces,” the Kurdish president said, stressing that “the threats are not directed at the region’s security alone, but to the security of the entire international community.”

Barzani’s remarks came after the Iraqi parliament voted in favour of a resolution to expel foreign and US forces from Iraq following the assassination of Commander of Iran’s Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani, in a US drone attack in Baghdad.

On Friday, Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi asked US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to send a delegation to Baghdad to discuss the American withdrawal.

However the US administration threatened to block Iraq’s access to its funds in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York if Baghdad expels American troops from the country, the Wall Street Journal reported.

READ: We were deliberately left out of Syria’s constitutional process, Kurdish official tells MEMO

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