PUK deserves credit for Erbil-Baghdad budget deal: official
Member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan’s (PUK) Political Bureau Miran Muhammad on Monday, March 22, claimed credit on behalf of his party for the apparent budget agreement between Erbil and Baghdad, since many of the members of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) negotiating delegation are from the PUK.

The agreement was reached on Friday night and secured the Region’s budget share in return for sending oil to Baghdad for export, but unraveled the following day amid disagreements over how to handle punitive arrangements if Erbil abrogates the deal.

A vote on the budget is now scheduled for March 27.

KRG Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani led most of the negotiating delegations that have made the trip to Baghdad in recent months, while KRG Minister of State Khalid Shwani has also been heavily involved in talks. Both are members of the PUK.

Mohammed told NRT that over the past few months, the PUK has sent its most senior leaders for talks with government and party officials in Baghdad in an effort to broker a deal.

In advancing this framing, Mohammed was trying to gain leverage over the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), implying it is a spoiler in the negotiations.

Both the PUK and the KDP objected to the apparent change to the deal on Saturday that scuttled the budget vote, saying that they would abstain.

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