White House's Middle East coordinator Brett McGurk heads to Iraq

The White House Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa, Brett McGurk, will visit Iraq and the Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR) on Monday to meet with senior Iraqi and Kurdish officials, Kurdish officials told Kurdish media outlets.

"Following his meetings in Baghdad, the US official is set to meet with the Kurdish leadership, including President of the Democratic Party of Kurdistan (KDP) Masoud Barzani, Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani as well as the leaders of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK)," Fawzi Hariri, chief of staff to the president of Kurdistan region today told Kurdistan 24, and Rudaw two outlets close to the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).

Safeen Dizayee, the head of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) foreign relations office, also confirmed the news to Rudaw. Neither the media office of Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani nor Iraq's state media announced anything regarding the expected visit.

After Iraq, McGurk is expected to visit Turkey.

The visit coincides with recent developments in Iraq and the northern Kurdish region.

While McGurk is expected to discuss the presence of US and other foreign troops in Iraq with Iraqi Prime Minister Sudani, the White House Coordinator is also expected to try to defuse recent tensions between the two main ruling parties in the Kurdistan region, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) of the Barzani family and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) lead by the Talabani family.

Hariri, however, told Rudaw that the visit by McGurk has nothing to do with the internal issues between the Kurdish ruling parties. He said that the visit was a political one by McGutor to understand the situation in Iraq and the Kurdistan region".

The New Arab contacted Dizayee and an Iraqi lawmaker from the security and defense committee in the Iraqi parliament, but they were not immediately available to comment.

TNA also spoke with Sakfan Yusuf, another Iraqi MP from the same committee, but he said he is not aware of the matter. TNA spoke with an official from the general secretary of the Iraqi Government’s Council of Ministers, however, the official said they are not authorized to speak to the press on the issue.

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