KRG is ready to resume talks with Baghdad over unresolved issues: Masrour Barzani
Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Masrour Barzani on Monday, November 23, met with the KRG High Level Committee on Baghdad Relations and discussed negotiations with the federal government on the outstanding issues.

KRG PM Barzani thanked the committee for its hard work and professionalism in leading talks with the federal government on constitutional disagreements and ongoing political disputes, according to a statement released by the KRG.

In April, Baghdad cut off all budget transfers to Erbil after the latter failed to send any oil to the federal government, as it was required to under the 2019 federal budget law.

The cut-off caused heavy burden on the cash-strapped KRG to pay its civil servants on time and full over the months. The two sides reached a temporary agreement in early August where Baghdad would send 320 billion Iraqi dinars, in return for bringing customs procedures at the Region’s international border crossings under federal control, NRT reported.

Barzani said that the KRG remains committed to reaching “a fair and comprehensive agreement” with the federal government, adding that it will continue to defend the constitutional rights and financial benefits of the people of Kurdistan.

He affirmed the readiness of the committee to visit Baghdad to resume in-person dialogue on the unresolved issues and negotiate a deal within the framework of the constitution.

The federal legislature approved the Fiscal Deficit Financing bill on November 12 to fill deficits through borrowing 12 trillion Iraqi dinars (some $10 billion) in internal and external loans to finance the salary payments to public servants and other expenditures for the last three months in 2020.

According to the legislation, the KRG should commit to hand over non-oil revenues and an amount of barrels of oil per day (bpd) to the federal government that will be determined by the SOMO in order to receive an amount of money in return to pay its civil servants.

On November 15, Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani said the Region is poised to hand over the whole of its oil to the federal government so that the latter transfers 900 billion Iraqi dinars ($753.87 million) to the Region on a monthly basis.

After a relatively quiet summer with few face-to-face talks, Regional and federal negotiators are expected to meet more often as the budget drafting process picks up speed.

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