Meeting with US officials

PUK president emphasizes coalition role, election integrity

ERBIL — Bafel Talabani, president of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, said Wednesday that the presence of coalition forces in the country should “align with the current realities” and regional needs to contribute to stability. He also noted that, in their previous form, Kurdistan’s elections would have detracted from the region’s progress rather than contributing to it.

The remarks came during a meeting at the Political Office in Erbil with Victoria Taylor, deputy assistant secretary of state, attended by Darbaz Kosrat Rasul, head of the Relations Office, and Mark Stroh, U.S. consul general in the Kurdistan Region. Discussions focused on the latest political, economic, and security developments in the Kurdistan Region, Iraq, and the broader region, with an emphasis on the need to maintain stability and address challenges.

The meeting also touched on the role and future responsibilities of coalition forces in combating terrorism and their support for the armed forces in the Kurdistan Region and Iraq. President Talabani highlighted that the ongoing presence of coalition forces should reflect the area’s current circumstances and needs to aid in regional stability. “To achieve this goal, we support negotiations between the Iraqi government and the coalition to reach a mutual understanding that benefits regional peace and security,” Talabani stated.

The topic of elections in the Kurdistan Region was another focal point, with a discussion of various perspectives. President Talabani outlined the Kurdish National Union’s position, asserting, “The Kurdish National Union insists on holding fair elections on the scheduled date and bolstering the foundations of democracy.”

He further remarked, “The elections, in their current form, would have distorted the region’s experience instead of improving it.”