Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs David Schenker traveled to Erbil and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) January 9 and 10 to discuss recent incendiary Iranian actions in the region that necessitated President Trump’s decision to take defensive action to protect American lives. In Erbil, he met with Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) President Masoud Barzani, Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR) President Nechirvan Barzani, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Masrour Barzani, Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani, Director of Zanyari Intelligence Agency Lahur Talabani, and former Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari. In the UAE, Assistant Secretary Schenker met with Iraqi Parliament Speaker Halbousi as well as the UAE Minister of State Anwar Gargash.
In each of his meetings, the Assistant Secretary made clear that the United States does not seek war and remains committed to de-escalation. He emphasized that the Coalition military presence in Iraq was solely aimed at continuing the fight against ISIS. The Assistant Secretary also discussed the reformist protests and their legitimate demands in the face of Iran-ordered attempts to suppress peaceful protests through lethal violence, and thanked the Iraqi, Kurdish, and Emirati people for their support and enduring friendship.
For updates on Assistant Secretary Schenker, follow him on Twitter @NEAPressOffice.