Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq (cabinet.gov.krd) – Kurdistan Region Prime Minister, Nechirvan Barzani, Deputy Prime Minister, Qubad Talabani and a number of Kurdistan Regional Government ministers, yesterday visited Kurdistan Parliament and received by the Speaker, Yousif Mohammad, Deputy Speaker, Jafar Eminki and the Parliament Secretary, Fakhradin Qadir.
The KRG delegation held a meeting with the parliamentary groups and relevant committees to discuss the latest developments in the implementation of the agreement, reached last December, between Kurdistan Regional Government, KRG, and the Federal Government of Iraq on budgetary and oil export issues.
Prime Minister Barzani said, “We have abided by the agreement and have exported the quantity of oil, defined in the agreement, but in return Baghdad has not sent Kurdistan Region’s budget as agreed on.”
In response to this emerging situation and possible future developments, Prime Minister Barzani said, “The Kurdistan Region has other options; but we want to give a chance to Baghdad and settle the issues through dialogue.”
The parliamentary groups and relevant committees reiterated their support to the Kurdistan Regional Government, stressing that in the event that the Federal Government of Iraq does not abide by the 2015 Budget Law and does not send Kurdistan Region’s budget, the KRG is entitled, according to the Kurdistan Parliament law, to adopt other means to ensure Kurdistan Region’s budget.
Kurdistan Parliament Speaker said it is regrettable that Baghdad has not abided by the Budget Law, and “it is not acceptable that while the Peshmerga forces sacrifice their blood in the battlefront in their fight against terrorism, Baghdad cuts Kurdistan Region budget, for which it gives different pretexts.”
Following the meeting, both Kurdistan Region Prime Minister, and Kurdistan Parliament Speaker held a press conference and shed light on the topics discussed in the meeting.
Prime Minster Barzani told the press, “According to the 2015 Budget law, both Kurdistan Regional Government and Iraqi Federal Government have certain obligations; the KRG is to export 550,000 barrels per day and the Federal Government will, in return, send Kurdistan Region IQD 1.2 trillion each month.”
Prime Minister Barzani stressed that while the Kurdistan Region has met its obligations in April, Baghdad has created a formula to reduce the Region’s budget. “The budget Baghdad has sent to Kurdistan Region is exactly equal to half of the value of the quantity of oil the Region has exported.”
He noted, “Either Iraq abides by the 2015 Budget law, or we reach a new agreement with Baghdad, based on the principle that Iraq acts with Kurdistan Region as the buyer of the oil produced in Kurdistan. We already said we don’t oppose such principle, but this requires a new agreement.”
Prime Minister Barzani told the press that he told Iraq’s Oil Minister, Dr Adil Abdul-Mahdi, a day earlier in Erbil, that “what is important for us is the implementation of the 2015 budget law and, accordingly, Kurdistan’s share of 1.2 trillion Iraqi dinars per month is guaranteed. We will be satisfied if you abide by its implementation, if not allow us to conclude another agreement with you for which we are ready, as the oil we dispose now, if sold at the international market, will bring much more income.”
He stressed that the Kurdistan Region needs funds, “particularly during the current difficult financial situation that the Kurdistan Region passes through, at the time when we accommodate more than one and a half million refugees and displaced people, fight against the Islamic State terrorist organisation, and our civil servants have not received their salary for three months. These are great difficulties that the Kurdistan Region is facing.”
He said, “If talks with Baghdad could not produce any positive results, the Kurdistan Regional Government will resort to Law Number 5, Year 2013, of the Kurdistan Parliament regarding the oil sector. It allows the Kurdistan Regions to ensure the Region’s budget by its own.”
At the press conference, Kurdistan Parliament Speaker called on the Federal Government of Iraq to abide by its agreement with the Kurdistan Region.