United States Secretary of State John Kerry today arrived Baghdad, Iraq unannounced as the country’s political crisis threatens the fight against ISIS.
The top United States diplomat’s visit, which was not made public until Kerry arrived, is part of an effort to shore up an embattled Prime Minister fighting to stay in office. Kerry will meet with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari and Council of Representatives Speaker Saleem al-Jabouri.
The visit kicked off with a news conference, where he announced the United States is providing nearly $155 million in additional humanitarian assistance, totalling more than $778 million in assistance since 2013.
He said that, “The United States is determined together with Iraq and the coalition that we will succeed”. He also added that, “Together we will help the people of this country recover and go forward”.
State Department spokesman John Kirby said Kerry will underscore the strong United States support for the Iraqi government as it addresses significant security, economic and political challenges, including the fight against ISIS militants that has ravaged the country.
Kirby said, Kerry will also meet with the leadership of the Kurdistan Regional Government “to express United States appreciation for the critical role that the Kurdistan Regional Government has played in the coalition’s efforts to defeat Da’esh, using another name for ISIS”.