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Iraq: UN envoy welcomes Kurdish regional leader's Baghdad visit

7 July 2013 – The top United Nations envoy in Iraq has welcomed today's visit to Baghdad of Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani, and has emphasized that the trip confirms the political will of the Iraqi federal Government and the Kurdistan region to tackle outstanding issues through dialogue.

Martin Kobler, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq, welcomed Kurdistan Region President Masud Barzani's visit to hold talks on outstanding issues in Baghdad with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, Parliament Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi and other political leaders.

“This second meeting within a month is an encouraging step,” Mr. Kobler said in a press release from the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), which added that the meeting confirms “there is political will to address outstanding issues between the centre and the region through direct dialogue and in accordance with the constitution.”

“I hope that these discussions will improve the relations between the federal Government and the Kurdistan Region's government, and that the outcomes will impact positively on the Iraqi people,” he said in the release, and added: “The UN continues to stand ready to provide support to this process.”

Today's visit follows by less than a month the first-ever trip to Erbil of Iraq's Premier for a landmark meeting with Kurdish leaders, which Mr. Kobler hailed as “a positive step in the right direction.”

At that time, a spokesman for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement in which the UN chief welcomed “all recent dialogue initiatives” between Iraqi federal Government and Kurdish region officials.

“[Mr. Ban] urges all parties to redouble their efforts to ensure that the momentum of national reconciliation is not lost to those groups that strive to reignite sectarian violence in Iraq,” that statement said.

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