US envoy meets Nechirvan, Masrour Barzani in Erbil

<p style="text-align: left;">UN Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Iraq Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert separately met with Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani and Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Masrour Barzani in Erbil on Monday, January 13.

The UN envoy, the Region&rsquo;s president and the prime minister discussed the latest developments in Iraq during the meetings, according to two separate statements from KRG and the region&rsquo;s president office.

According to NRT president Barzani said the Kurdistan Region is ready to help restore peace and stability in Iraq during the meeting with Hennis-Plasschaert, his office said in the statement.

They also discussed the ongoing anti-government protests in Baghdad and the southern provinces, according to the statement.

&ldquo;The President also underlined that the legitimate grievances of the protesters should be recognized and taken into consideration,&rdquo; it cited Barzani as saying.

They also discussed the UN and international community&rsquo;s plans and roadmaps to support Iraq at this stage, it added.

Hennis-Plasschaert also met with KRG Premier Barzani in Erbil. They said all the Iraqi sides should take the sensitivity of the situation into account as Iraq is passing through difficult circumstances, KRG said in a statement.

They emphasized that further tension of the situation would not be in the interests of the people of Iraq and the region, according to the statement.

They also stressed on the need to maintain security and stability of the situation, the statement read.

Tensions between Washington and Tehran hit a high after a US strike assasinated Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani on January 3, prompting the Council of Representatives to vote to call on the government to seek the exit of foreign troops from Iraq. Kurdish and Sunni parties boycotted the session.

On January 8, Iran retaliated to the assassination by firing nearly two dozen ballistic missiles at bases in Anbar and Erbil hosting US and coalition troops.

Officials in the Kurdistan Region called for dialogue and de-escalation, making it clear that they wanted coalition troops to remain in order to keep pressure on Islamic State and prevent it from reasserting itself.

Tensions between Washington and Tehran have spiked since Trump unilaterally withdrew in 2018 from the Iran nuclear deal struck by his predecessor Barack Obama and began re-imposing sanctions that had been eased under the accord.

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