HEADLINES:

KRG delegation to visit Baghdad, discuss budget, oil: official

2020-09-08

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SULAIMANI — Representative of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Baghdad Fars Esa said that a delegation from Erbil will visit the Iraqi capital on Tuesday (September 8) for talks about oil and the budget.

Esa told the Kurdistan Democratic Party’s (KDP) official media outlet late on Monday that the discussions will focus on the draft 2021 budget law that is being drawn up by the Council of Representatives.

The delegation will be led by KRG Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani. KRG Minister of Finance and Economy Awat Sheikh Janab had been expected to visit Baghdad as a member the delegation, but has become infected by the novel coronavirus and will not make the trip.

The KRG and the federal government are engaged in a long-running budget dispute centered on revenue sharing and the Region’s independent oil sales. The full terms of the 2019 federal budget law were never implemented because the KRG refused to send oil to the federal government for export.

In April, Baghdad cut off all budget transfers to Erbil in retaliation, causing a severe disruption in the Region’s finances. Some funding was restored in a deal between the two governments last month, but it is only a temporary agreement contingent on Erbil meeting certain conditions.

Due to widespread political turmoil, the resignation of Adil Abdul Mahdi, and tensions between Baghdad and Erbil, Iraqi lawmakers never passed a 2020 budget, leaving financing at 2019 levels.

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.

(NRT Digital Media)