PM Barzani: We will not hand Kur­dis­tan Re­gion’s oil con­trol to SOMO

The Kurdish Globe - - FRONT PAGE -

Prime Min­is­ter Barzani said the Re­gion would not hand oil con­trol to the Iraqi State Oil Mar­ket­ing Or­gan­i­sa­tion, SOMO. He noted the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment can­not ex­port oil from Kirkuk with­out in­volv­ing the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion. He said, “We wish to set­tle all out­stand­ing is­sues with Bagh­dad. How­ever, if we do not reach agree­ment, the Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Gov­ern­ment has other so­lu­tions.”

Kur­dis­tan Re­gion Prime Min­is­ter Nechir­van Barzani and Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Qubad Tal­a­bani talked to the press fol­low­ing last Mon­day's Par­lia­ment ses­sion host­ing the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion Oil and Gas Coun­cil.

Prime Min­is­ter Barzani said the Re­gion would not hand oil con­trol to the Iraqi State Oil Mar­ket­ing Or­gan­i­sa­tion, SOMO. He noted the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment can­not ex­port oil from Kirkuk with­out in­volv­ing the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion. He said, “We wish to set­tle all out­stand­ing is­sues with Bagh­dad. How­ever, if we do not reach agree­ment, the Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Gov­ern­ment has other so­lu­tions.”

He in­formed the press, “When the Iraqi Gov­ern­ment stopped Kur­dis­tan Re­gion’s bud­get we were not ex­port­ing oil and their decision was uni­lat­eral. The Kur­dis­tan Re­gion seeks a mech­a­nism where such sit­u­a­tions would not re­oc­cur”.

Prime Min­is­ter Barzani re­it­er­ated that Bagh­dad has not pro­vided funds for the salaries of the Re­gion’s civil ser­vants since Jan­uary. He said, “With the poli­cies we have adopted, we have so far man­aged to pay salaries to some ex­tent.” He hoped the KRG could soon over­come this sit­u­a­tion so the is­sue of salaries would no longer make head­lines. He ex­pressed con­fi­dence the KRG would reach that level.

Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Qubad Tal­a­bani in­formed the press that the United States, Bri­tain, and the United Na­tions are con­cerned about the sit­u­a­tion and they are ex­ert­ing pres­sure on the Iraqi Gov­ern­ment to hon­our the prom­ises they made to the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion dur­ing the gov­ern­ment for­ma­tion process. The Deputy Prime Min­is­ter said, “We are in touch with th­ese coun­tries on a reg­u­lar ba­sis and have con­veyed our con­cerns to the United Na­tions’ en­voy in Iraq.”

Prime Min­is­ter Barzani said the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion’s pri­or­ity is to reach agree­ment on is­sues with Bagh­dad, but if agree­ment is not pos­si­ble it does not mean there are no other so­lu­tions. He said, “There are other so­lu­tions for sure, but the Re­gion’s first pref­er­ence is mu­tual agree­ment with Bagh­dad.”

He stated, “We hoped to see clearer ini­tia­tives from Iraq’s new Prime Min­is­ter and new Oil Min­is­ter to­wards re­solv­ing th­ese is­sues. We still hope the is­sues will be set­tled. The Iraqi Oil Min­is­ter is ex­pected to visit the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion, we are look­ing for­ward to the meet­ing him, and we will de­cide on the date to visit Bagh­dad after meet­ing with Adil Ab­dul-Mahdi.”

Prime Min­is­ter Barzani noted the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion could earn its full 17 per­cent share of na­tional rev­enue by the end of 2015. He added the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion would meet the 11 per­cent share the Re­gion was re­ceiv­ing from Bagh­dad through oil sales by March 2015. He ex­plained that Bagh­dad deducts na­tional ex­penses ap­pli­ca­ble to the whole coun­try, plus ex­penses for run­ning the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment, and then sends the Re­gion’s share from the re­main­ing bal­ance.

He said the Pesh­merga are part of na­tional de­fense and there­fore they should be in­cluded in na­tional ex­penses and not cov­ered by the Re­gion’s bud­get. The Prime Min­is­ter also said Pesh­merga forces are cur­rently de­ployed to places where de­fend­ing Kur­dis­tan Re­gion does not re­quire their de­ploy­ment, if they were not part of Iraq’s de­fense sys­tem.

Re­gard­ing his meet­ing with the Gov­er­nor of Kirkuk, Prime Min­is­ter Barzani said they are in touch reg­u­larly. He said the Gov­er­nor of Kirkuk is to visit Turkey and he wanted to con­sider the Re­gion’s views be­fore his de­par­ture.

Re­gard­ing trad­ing with the ISIS ter­ror­ist or­gan­i­sa­tion, the Prime Min­ster said, “We view trad­ing with ISIS as na­tional be­trayal.” He made clear the KRG would se­ri­ously work on this is­sue and will hold any­one in­volved ac­count­able.”

Re­gard­ing the plane that was re­fused per­mis­sion to land in Sle­mani last week, Prime Min­is­ter Barzani said the plane did not have the re­quired per­mis­sion from Bagh­dad. The plane flew to Bagh­dad and there is no fur­ther in­for­ma­tion.

On the price of fuel, Prime Min­is­ter Barzani said he wished the price could be low­ered but un­for­tu­nately it could not be done un­der the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion.

Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Tal­a­bani in­formed the press that the Coun­cil of Min­is­ters ap­proved a bill to seek funds through bor­row­ing and it was sent to Par­lia­ment. Fol­low­ing the bill’s pas­sage into law the KRG will seek in­ter­na­tional loans. He added that he vis­ited the UK and UAE to seek loans from in­ter­na­tional banks as an ad­di­tional in­come source. The Deputy Prime Min­is­ter said loan money will be used for in­vest­ment on strate­gic projects and not for gov­ern­ment salaries.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Iraq

© PressReader. All rights reserved.