PM Maliki and Other Iraqi Leaders Meet With Talabani in Sulaimani

21/09/2012  RUDAW – ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki arrived at the Sulaimani International Airport on Wednesday and was received by a number of senior officials from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).

Azad Jundiyani, the official PUK spokesperson told Rudaw, “Maliki was welcomed by Kosrat Rasul Ali, vice president of the Kurdistan Region, and a number of PUK and Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) officials.”

A delegation of senior members from Maliki’s Islamic Dawa Party is accompanying him on the visit. They are expected to hold a joint meeting with the PUK. “Actually, Maliki’s visit is meant to welcome back Jalal Talabani, but at such meetings between politicians it is normal for political issues to be discussed,” Jundiyani said. “Therefore, discussion of Iraq’s current situation is expected to take place at the meeting. Talabani will surely use this opportunity to at least talk about the political crisis in Iraq.”

There are also rumors that the speaker of Iraqi Parliament, Osama al-Nujaifi, will join the two leaders in their discussions in Sulaimani province, but Jundiyani said, “Up to this moment, there is no information about whether Nujaifi will come to Sulaimani or not.”

KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, accompanied by a group of senior members from the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), visited Talabani in Sulaimani province on Tuesday to welcome him back after a stay of three months in Germany for medical treatment. Meanwhile, Jundiyani, dismissed rumors that PUK has been asked to facilitate a meeting between Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani Iraqi PM Maliki during his visit to Sulaimani province,

“This is not true and we have no initiatives of this sort,” said Jundiyani.

“We are in direct contact on a daily basis with our friends in the KDP to exchange views on various issues,” he added. “The PUK political bureau cannot take such a decision unilaterally. If we had decided to take such an initiative, it would be in coordination with our friends in the KDP.” Similar reports appeared in some Kurdish media outlets. “Talabani has discussed this issue via phone with Barzani. But Barzani has refused to meet with Maliki under the excuse that meetings with Maliki would be futile,” wrote the Kurdish newspaper Hawlati.