TEHRAN, YJC. -- Prime Minister of Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Nechirvan Barzani is set to hold talks with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan late Monday.
The visit comes after US Secretary of State John Kerry made an unannounced stop in Iraq over the weekend.
No details were released on what Erdoğan and Barzani were set to discuss together.
On Sunday, Kerry spoke by phone with the president of the Arbil-based KRG, Massoud Barzani, and told him to discourage Kurds from pursuing unilateral initiatives that would put them at odds with the central government in Baghdad, especially those involving the country's oil resources, such as a pipeline deal being discussed with Turkey.
A planned pipeline that would allow Iraqi Kurds to export oil directly to Turkey has long worried Baghdad. These concerns are shared by the United States, which fears that economic independence for Kurds could push Iraq into deeper instability.
US officials traveling with Kerry to Baghdad said the secretary would stress the "importance of maintaining the unity of Iraq." Kerry is to argue that "separate efforts undercut the unity of the country" and that the "Kurdish republic" will be unable to "survive financially without the support of Baghdad," one official said.
Relating to oil exports, Baghdad says it alone has the authority to control the exports of Iraq, which holds the world's fourth-largest oil reserves, while the Kurds say their right to do so is enshrined in Iraq's federal constitution, drawn up following the US-led invasion of 2003.