Iraq’s Barzani meets with cabinet nominee in Erbil

Iraq’s Barzani meets with cabinet nominee in Erbil

ERBIL, Iraq (Rahnuma) : Masoud Barzani, leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and former head of northern Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), met in Erbil on Monday with Faleh al-Fayad, the Iraqi prime minister’s national security advisor.

According to a KDP statement, Barzani and al-Fayad — the latter of whom has been nominated for the post of Iraqi interior minister — discussed the country’s political situation and ongoing efforts to draw up a new government.

The two men also reportedly discussed outstanding differences between Baghdad and the Erbil-based KRG.

Nineteen out of 22 cabinet nominees put forward by Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi have so far been confirmed by Iraq’s parliament.

Two cabinet portfolios, however, still remain in limbo amid ongoing differences between the country’s leading political forces.

A scheduled parliamentary vote on al-Fayad, the PM’s choice for interior minister, was recently postponed to a later date.

No candidate, meanwhile, has yet been proposed for the post of justice minister.

Muqtada al-Sadr’s Sairoon Bloc, which dominated Iraq’s May 12 parliamentary poll, opposes al-Fayed’s nomination, saying the Interior Ministry should go to a “politically independent” figure.

The Shia Al-Fatah coalition, however, which is known to be close to Iran, supports al-Fayed’s nomination.

Iraqi politics are deeply affected by the longstanding regional standoff between the U.S. and Iran, both of which maintain considerable influence in the country.

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