Movements to resolve outstanding issues between Iraqi Kurdistan and federal government
The Kurdistan Regional Government is continuing its discussions with the Iraqi federal government to resolve outstanding issues, on top of which are the 2023 budget law and the oil and gas law.
The president of the Kurdistan Region’s Cabinet Diwan, Umed Sabah, announced that Erbil and Baghdad had reached a preliminary agreement regarding the 2023 budget.
According to Iraqi media, Sabah said in a post on his Facebook account, “We met in the capital, Baghdad, with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia' al-Sudani,” adding, “After discussing the outstanding issues between Erbil and Baghdad, we reached a preliminary agreement on the draft budget law for the year 2023.”
This step came after the arrival of the Kurdistan Regional Government on Sunday to Baghdad, where it met with Prime Minister Sudani.
This was the second visit after an earlier visit by a Kurdish delegation to Baghdad last week, which held meetings with the delegation of the federal government regarding the draft federal oil and gas law that was presented by Finance and Economy Minister Awat Sheikh Janab and members of the delegation.
Treating the causes
Mahmoud Khoshnaw, a leader in the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), said in exclusive statements to the Reference that the solution to the outstanding problems is to address the causes, represented in the budget law and the oil and gas law, to solve problems related to money transfer and disputes over the energy file.
The radical solutions are represented in the legislation of the oil and gas law, which translates into the budget law, and this will end the differences and oblige the two parties to the content of the law, he added, pointing out that the money and energy file are currently the talk of the hour, and therefore it is necessary to come to solutions in these two files.
Khoshnaw stressed the need to move away from patchwork solutions that are often under the political mood, so attention should be paid to radical solutions, which require codifying and adhering to these files, as well as adherence to the constitution and its implementation.
The PUK leader added that Article 112 of the constitution related to oil and gas is still not legislated, so this law must be legislated, and thus the file of the energy dispute will end. He pointed out that all of this will be reflected in the budget law, given that revenues or budget financing are through oil or energy revenues.
The Kurdistan Regional Government recently announced that its legal team is meeting in Baghdad on the oil file, while indicating that it is calling for a real partnership with Baghdad.
The Iraqi News Agency (INA) quoted the spokesman for the Kurdistan Regional Government, Jutyar Adel, as saying in a press conference that “there are common points between Erbil and Baghdad, and our first step is to activate the Electoral Commission,” noting that “visits to Baghdad will focus on controversial points.”
“The rate of 12.67 percent for the region is unfair to Kurdistan,” Adel said, noting that “this figure was established on the basis of the ration card in 2014, but the number of citizens of the region has increased since that time until now.”
“When the budget was cut from Baghdad in 2014, we were forced to export oil abroad to secure the deposits and expenses,” he added, noting that “the issue of oil and gas in Iraq has a problem due to the lack of legislation.”
Adel pointed out that “the legal team is now in Baghdad regarding the oil file,” explaining that the news that “there is an agreement to transport oil with Turkey and not to sell it for 50 years” is incorrect.
“The regional government is calling for a real partnership with Baghdad, and we believe that the agreement between the two governments is in the interest of all. Our participation with Baghdad is on the basis of federalism,” he stressed.
Adel pointed out that a meeting was held between the central and regional governments, and several issues were discussed, including the prime minister's visit to France and the roads and bridges project, as there are good understandings between Kurdistan and the state in this regard.