U.N. envoy welcomes Kurdish leader to Baghdad

Martin Kobler, the U.N.'s special representative of the secretary-general for Iraq, welcomed the visit on Sunday to Baghdad by a Kurdish leader to tackle issues between Iraq and the Kurdistan region.

Masoud Barzani, the region president of the Kurdistan region, visited Baghdad to hold talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, Osama al-Nujaifi, Iraq's parliament speaker, and other political leaders to use dialogue to deal with outstanding issues. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged parties to keep momentum going for national reconciliation to stop groups that wish to reignite sectarian violence in Iraq.

Kobler said the U.N. will provide whatever help it can during this process.

"This second meeting within a month is an encouraging step," Kobler said. "There is political will to address outstanding issues between the center and the region through direct dialogue and in accordance with the constitution. I hope that these discussions will improve the relations between the federal government and the Kurdistan region's government, and that the outcomes will impact positively on the Iraqi people. The U.N. continues to stand ready to provide support to this process."

The visit to Baghdad comes less than a month after Iraq's premier visited Erbil for a landmark meeting with Kurdish leaders.