Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Foreign Minister Falah Mustafa has called on Presidents Obama and Putin to put their differences aside and work with the Peshmerga to defeat Islamic State (IS).
In an interview with US News Mustafa calls for Moscow and Washington to come to an agreement over the conflict in Syria.
Whilst the Americans insist that Syrian President Basher al-Assad can play no role in the future of the country, Russia has in the last few days massively increased its support for its beleaguered ally, beginning air strikes on anti-regime Free Syrian Army (FSA) positions.
“Had there been a timely intervention in one way or another, we would have been in a different situation today. But we are where we are.
“That’s why we have to reach an agreement in the international community. If we all agree there is no military solution to this problem, then we have to start a political solution,” he said.
Mustafa also addressed the wider problem of IS and sectarian conflicts that have riven Iraq in particular.
“We have to make sure the Sunni community is part of this process because we have to make a distinction: those who follow the ideology of IS, they are IS. But those who reject the ideology of IS, they have to be seen as something different.”
KRG Representative to the US Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman told US News that the US needs to put more pressure on Baghdad to send the KRG its share of the Iraqi budget, as civil servants and the Peshmerga continue to go unpaid, and the population of the region has increased 30% due to the refugee and IDP crisis. She also called for greater international support.
“If the Europeans don’t want these refugees to drown and to suffocate on their seas and on their roads, they need to deal with the situation at its heart in the Middle East.
“We’re fighting a very expensive war. We’re under-equipped for that war. We’re not getting the weapons that we need, and we don’t know when all of this will end. The liberation of Mosul is being put off and delayed, so when will all of this end?”
She also called on international leaders to label the massacres of Yazidis and Christians by IS as genocide.