Arbil, Asharq Al-Awsat The secretary general of the Peshmerga Ministry and official spokesman of the Kurdistan Region’s Guards Forces has denied any knowledge of talk regarding an American desire to establish permanent military bases in the Region and stressed that Washington wishes to strengthen its relations with Arbil diplomatically and not militarily.
In reply to a question about press speculations that the United States wishes to establish military bases inside the Kurdistan Region’s areas and which were associated with the statements by Assistant US Secretary of State Jeffrey Feltman during his meeting with the Region President Masud Barzani last week, Major General Jabbar Yawir told Asharq Al-Awsat: “I believe the statements attributed to the US President about his desire to establish long-term strategic relations with Kurdistan Region which was conveyed by Feltman mean the establishment of long-term diplomatic relations.” He added that “there is not, to my knowledge, any talk about establishing permanent American military bases in Kurdistan Region nor in Iraq too.”
Moreover, Yawir asserted that Obama and the American military commanders “underlined their commitment to the dates for the withdrawal from Iraq by the end of this month in accordance with the security agreement signed by the two countries. The Iraqi Government has not applied so far to extend the presence of the combat forces in Iraq because of the government crisis repercussions. As to the proposed amendment of the security agreement, this too is not on the table at present and Iraq might ask the United States to sign another security agreement with it when this one expires by the end of 2011.”