Discussing Iranian Overflights to Syria and Kurdish-Turkish Oil Pipeline
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry made an unannounced visit to Iraq after accompanying President Obama to Israel, Palestine and Jordan. Kerry will urge Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to make sure Iranian flights over Iraq do not carry arms and fighters to Syria, a U.S. official told Reuters. Washington believes Iranian flights and overland transfers take place nearly every day.
“He will be very direct with Prime Minister Maliki about the importance of stopping the Iranian overflights and the transits across the territory or, at a minimum, inspecting each of the flights,” the U.S. official said. (Reuters, 24 March)
Kerry also plans to speak by phone with Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani. The U.S. is concerned that Kurdish regional government’s plans to press ahead with the construction of an oil pipeline to Turkey could lead to the break-up of Iraq.
“Kerry will stress the importance of maintaining the unity of Iraq,” said a U.S. official. “Separate efforts undercut the unity of the country.” (AP, 24 march)
File photo: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (AFP)