French armed forces minister in Erbil after Baghdad visit on counter-ISIS campaign

Discussed Turkish military campaign with Iraqi President Salih
Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Minister of Peshmerga Affairs Shoresh Ismail and KRG Head of Department of Foreign Relations Safeen Dizayee greet French armed forces minister Florence Parly in Erbil on August 27, 2020 (Photo Credit: @KRG_DFR/Twitter)

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SULAIMANI — Following a visit to Baghdad on Thursday morning (August 27), French armed forces minister Florence Parly arrived in Erbil for meetings with officials in the Kurdistan Region.

She was greeted by her Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) counterpart Minister of Peshmerga Affairs Shoresh Ismail and KRG Head of Department of Foreign Relations Safeen Dizayee.

She met with Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani and discussed negotiations between Erbil and Baghdad, the coronavirus pandemic, and France's commitment to the fight against ISIS and support for the Peshmerga and the Iraqi Security Forces.

“The Kurdistan Region President thanked France for its effective role in defeating Daesh [ISIS] and ...training the Peshmerga,” the Barzani’s office said in a press release, using the Arabic acronym for the militant group.

He also thanked France for providing aid to refugees and IDPs hosted by the Kurdistan Region.

Earlier in the day, Parly met with the Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi and discussed the security situation in the country and the Middle East region, according to a statement published by Kadhimi’s media office.

Specifically, the pair focused on the continuing on the ongoing efforts to combat Islamic State (ISIS) sleeper cells, which continue to launch attacks against military and civilian targets in parts of the country.

Parly stressed France’s continued commitment to fighting terrorism and supporting the Iraqi Security Forces. The pair also discussed how the conflict in Syria affected conditions in Iraq.

She also met with President Barham Salih, where they discussed Turkish violations of Iraqi sovereignty resulting from its intense military campaign in the Kurdistan Region and northern Iraq.

Ankara claims that the operations are necessary to combat the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), but has also resulted in the deaths of at least nine civilians since June 15.

Relations between France and Turkey have recently soured on a variety of issues, including the Eastern Mediterranean and Libya.

Parly also met with her Iraqi counterpart Juma Inad and discussed the possibility of arms sales to Iraq from France, according to the state media Iraqi News Agency.

(NRT Digital Media)

This story was updated at 10:44 p.m. EBL