Barzani Dis­cusses Kur­dis­tan’s Fi­nan­cial Cri­sis with US and EU Of­fi­cials

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS -

The Kur­dis­tan Re­gion’s Prime Min­is­ter Nechir­van Barzani sep­a­rately met a del­e­ga­tion from the US Em­bassy in Iraq as well as a mis­sion from the Euro­pean Union, where they dis­cussed the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion of the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion and the fi­nan­cial cri­sis the re­gion is fac­ing.

Fol­low­ing a re­cent visit by a KRG del­e­ga­tion to the United States to brief the US Ad­min­is­tra­tion about the fi­nan­cial cri­sis in the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion, and to re­quest US sup­port, yes­ter­day Prime Min­is­ter Nechir­van Barzani re­ceived the US Am­bas­sador to Iraq, Mr. Ste­wart Jones and his ac­com­pa­ny­ing diplo­matic team.

In the meet­ing, which was also at­tended by Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Qubad Tal­a­bani, the cur­rent fi­nan­cial cri­sis in the re­gion, was dis­cussed. The vis­it­ing del­e­ga­tion ex­pressed con­cern and ea­ger­ness to find a so­lu­tion to over­come the dif­fi­cul­ties.

Prime Min­is­ter Barzani pre­sented a sum­mary of the fi­nan­cial cri­sis and ex­plained that it was caused by with­hold­ing by Bagh­dad of the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion’s share in the na­tional bud­get since Fe­bru­ary 2014, the cost of the fight against the Is­lamic State ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion, ISIS, ac­com­mo­dat­ing a large num­ber of refugees and in­ter­nally dis­placed per­sons and the re­cent sharp fall in oil price in the in­ter­na­tional mar­ket.

He out­lined the KRG’s plan, adopted in 2014, to re­duce costs and ex­pen­di­ture while in­creas­ing in­come through re­forms in the govern­ment in­sti­tu­tions.

Both Prime Min­is­ter Barzani and Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Tal­a­bani pro­vided de­tailed in­for­ma­tion on the depth and com­plex­ity of the fi­nan­cial cri­sis.

The US del­e­ga­tion ex­pressed its sup­port for the steps taken by KRG to ad­dress the sit­u­a­tion, and men­tioned that the in­for­ma­tion pro­vided would be taken back to Wash­ing­ton, which will send tech­ni­cal ex­perts and ad­vis­ers to the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion to help over­come the cri­sis.

Am­bas­sador Jones praised the role of the Pesh­merga Forces in the fight against ISIS, and the ef­forts by the KRG to ac­com­mo­date and pro­vide as­sis­tance to scores of refugees and IDPs, who fled the ISIS ter­ror­ist threat and took refuge in the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion.

PM Barzani also re­ceived a del­e­ga­tion from the Euro­pean Union Mis­sion to Iraq led by Mr. Con­stanti­nos Var­dakiz, act­ing Head of the EU Mis­sion to Iraq and Head of the EU Of­fice in the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion, along with rep­re­sen­ta­tives as­signed to the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion by EU mem­ber states.

The EU del­e­ga­tion noted with great con­cern the cur­rent fi­nan­cial cri­sis in the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion and ex­pressed hope it will be re­solved with the min­i­mum of fur­ther de­lay.

The del­e­ga­tion ex­pressed sup­port of the Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Govern­ment’s ef­forts to­ward re­solv­ing in­ter­nal dif­fer­ences and ad­dress­ing the cur­rent cri­sis. In this re­gard, in the in­ter­ests of all the peo­ple of the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion, they in­formed their pro­gram in­cludes meet­ings with all political par­ties to en­cour­age unity.

Prime Min­is­ter Barzani ex­pressed his grat­i­tude to the Euro­pean Union for its sup­port in the fight against the Is­lamic State ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion, ISIS, and for hu­man­i­tar­ian as­sis­tance to nearly two mil­lion refugees and in­ter­nally dis­placed per­sons. He noted that the Re­gion’s ca­pac­ity to meet the costs of the war against ISIS, com­pounded by the costs of as­sis­tance be­ing pro­vided to refuges and IDPs, have been greatly wors­ened by Bagh­dad with­hold­ing the agreed share of na­tional rev­enue since Fe­bru­ary 2014 along with the sharp de­crease in global oil prices.

He in­formed that the KRG has be­gun to im­ple­ment mea­sures to ad­dress the fi­nan­cial cri­sis and noted that in this re­gard tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance from the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity is wel­comed, par­tic­u­larly from the EU. About re­solv­ing the fi­nan­cial cri­sis, he also in­formed that the KRG is tak­ing mea­sures to­ward re­form­ing ad­min­is­tra­tive struc­tures and sys­tems.

Prime Min­is­ter Barzani reaf­firmed the KRG’s com­mit­ment to di­a­logue and ne­go­ti­a­tion in re­solv­ing in­ter­nal is­sues and those with Bagh­dad.

Prime Min­is­ter Barzani also noted that re­gard­ing the right to self-de­ter­mi­na­tion a ref­er­en­dum will be con­ducted in the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion and the re­sults will be pre­sented to Bagh­dad in a spirit of peace­ful dis­cus­sion.

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