KRG says ne­go­ti­a­tions with Bagh­dad a pri­or­ity

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS -

The Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Govern­ment (KRG) re­stated on Thurs­day, Fe­bru­ary 25, 2016, that ne­go­ti­a­tions with Iraq’s fed­eral govern­ment were a pri­or­ity.

The KRG re­leased a state­ment on its web­site re­port­ing the KRG Prime Min­is­ter Nechir­van Barzani met with Kuwaiti Consul-Gen­eral Omar Ah­mad alKan­dari to dis­cuss is­sues in Iraq and the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion. Top­ics of dis­cus­sion were the fight against the Is­lamic State (IS) and the eco­nomic cri­sis in the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion.

PM Barzani said dur­ing the meet­ing that the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion was ready for any sig­nal from Bagh­dad to re­solve the is­sues on both sides.

“The KRG’s pri­or­ity is to tackle the is­sues with Bagh­dad by ne­go­ti­a­tion and with mu­tual un­der­stand­ing,” Barzani stated.

Barzani also ex­plained that the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion is fac­ing a cri­sis and re­quires as­sis­tance from the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity, es­pe­cially the Gulf na­tions.

“The KRG is se­ri­ous about re­form and will take all nec­es­sary mea­sures to im­ple­ment it. The KRG will at­tempt to find other in­come sources as an al­ter­na­tive to oil and gas, “he added.

The global slump in oil prices, the war against IS, the in­flux of refugees and dis­placed Iraqis and the on­go­ing dis­pute with Bagh­dad over the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion’s share of the fed­eral bud­get have strained the re­gion’s fi­nances leav­ing it un­able to pay pub­lic em­ploy­ees’ salaries.

Rev­enue from crude oil ex­ported via pipe­line to Cey­han in Turkey rep­re­sents the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion’s main means of sur­vival. With­out such rev­enue, salaries of Pesh­merga, the se­cu­rity forces and other key govern­ment work­ers can­not be paid.

The KRG has strug­gled to pay salaries on time for pub­lic em­ploy­ees in the re­gion, with some hav­ing gone up to five months with­out wages.

Ten­sions be­tween the KRG and Iraq’s fed­eral govern­ment hit a high in 2015 af­ter of­fi­cials from both sides ac­cused each other of fail­ing to abide by the terms of an oil rev­enue shar­ing deal struck by of­fi­cials in De­cem­ber 2014.

Of­fi­cials from Bagh­dad and Er­bil had signed a rev­enue shar­ing deal, un­der which the KRG would re­ceive 17 per­cent of the fed­eral bud­get in ex­change for ex­port­ing 550,000 bar­rels of oil per day to the Iraqi State Or­ga­ni­za­tion for Mar­ket­ing Oil (SOMO) at Cey­han Port in Turkey.

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