Barzani cancelled US visit to criticize Washington for putting Kurdish parties in terror list

BasNews 5.2.2014 – The US’s refusal to remove the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) from their list of terrorist organizations was the alleged reason behind Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani’s delayed visit. Under the existing US immigration law, the members of Iraq’s two main Kurdish are classified as terrorists when seeking visas to enter the United States.

Barzani spoke of his concerns to US Vice President Joe Biden, who assured Barzani that they would try to solve the problem as soon as possible.

Over the past 12 months there have been signs of decline in the relations between Iraqi Kurds and the US government. Political observers believe that there are three key reasons behind the deteriorating relations, namely the Democrats’ unwillingness to make decisions regarding the Middle East, KDP and PUK being on the terrorist list and the Syrian crisis. The current oil-related problems between Erbil and Baghdad have also affected Erbil-Washington relations, BasNews said.

MP Mahmoud Othman believes that the US does not see the Kurdish problem as a major issue in Middle East and claims they have proven this by not removing KDP and PUK from the terrorist list.

“It is strange that after such a close relationship with the PUK and KDP, they still see them as terrorists” said Othman. Othman revealed that Canada used to have a similar law where a number of PUK members were put on the terrorist list. “Barzani should have spoken of this issue to the public in order to receive support. I suggest that this Kurdish concern be voiced in American media so that people and politicians are aware of the Kurdish issue,” explained Othman. Last week Barzani and Biden spoke on the phone and agreed that the time was not suitable for a visit but that it will take place in the near future.