Barzani warns Baghdad that the KRG does not want to hear the threats to cut its budget again
PM Barzani discusses oil and budget issues with Kurdish MPs and ministers
Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani and his deputy Emad Ahmed met with Kurdish MPs and ministers in both Erbil and Baghdad on Monday January 27, 2014. The meeting was held to discuss and analyze the recent talks between Erbil and Baghdad regarding Iraq’s 2014 budget and the oil production and export process.
Barzani gave a speech and stated that the purpose of the meeting was to inform the Kurdish MPs and ministers in both Erbil and Baghdad about the oil and budget issues.
“We in the Kurdistan Council of Ministers hear news from Baghdad and on the media outlets that is untrue and not based in fact,” Barzani told the attendees.
Over the past several years, the Kurdistan Region has witnessed enormous change. Kurdistan’s residents along with other nations in Iraq voted for the country’s constitution, to which the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) reiterated its commitment, Barzani said.
“The KRG has set the course of its economic development very precisely, and it will try to fulfill it because the stability of Kurdistan is the basis of economic stability and development,” Barzani said.
Prime Minister Barzani then mentioned developments in the sectors of education, health, housing and infrastructure as well as the construction of Erbil, Sulaimaniyah and Dohuk airports.
He additionally declared that over the past 7 to 8 years the KRG’s representatives in Baghdad and Kurdistan have been incessantly intent on implementing constitutional provisions in order to guarantee a brighter future for the residents of Kurdistan.
“One of the most significant points concerns oil and gas. The Kurdistan Parliament, within the framework of the Iraqi constitution, voted on the Oil and Gas Law and the session was broadcast live on media outlets.”
Barzani added that he had offered a draft plan to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in 2007relating to oil and gas and a mechanism for distributing its revenue. He said they had agreed on the draft and that he had been hopeful a final agreement would be reached. However, “The KRG’s constructive efforts did not have a positive outcome unfortunately.”
“We agreed with the Iraqi government that if the two parties failed to reach an agreement on the law, then each party could work with its own oil and gas law within the framework of the Iraqi constitution.”
He added: “Eight years ago, neither of us nor oil experts knew how much oil there was in the Kurdistan Region. Few of us dreamed that Kurdistan would be included on the world energy map.”
“Moreover, who could predict that relations between the KRG and Turkey would evolve into a trade and energy relationship,” Barzani said at the meeting.
What Baghdad wants is different from our solution, Barzani stated. The difference is that Baghdad says the KRG should do the porterage and then Baghdad would put the oil on the market.
He warned that Baghdad wants to control everything and it would use its authority as a red card against the KRG again. He said that Baghdad is threatening to cut the KRG’s share of the national budget again.
“This time, we told Baghdad in no uncertain terms that we do not like to hear threats to cut the Kurdistan Region’s budget because such a move is not in the interest of Baghdad or the Kurdistan Region,” Premier Barzani told the assembled MPs and ministers.
He asked them to support the KRG in its fight for its constitutional rights for the sake of the residents of Kurdistan.
He also declared that the Kurdistan budget has to be organized as it is in other federal countries, meaning the Kurdistan parliament should decide on its own budget.
“This is not a federal system and this does not happen in any other country in the world. What Baghdad is doing to us, it does to all the other provinces of Iraq.”
Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani and his deputy Emad Ahmed met with Kurdish MPs and ministers in both Erbil and Baghdad on Monday January 27, 2014.