ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region Nechirvan Barzani announced that the region would participate in the Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq scheduled to be held in Kuwait next week, and hoped the Kurdistan Region would receive its fair share of projects and investments.
Barzani’s statement came after his meeting with US Ambassador to Iraq, Douglas Silliman, in Erbil on Thursday, according to the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) press office.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi claims Iraq needs up to $100 billion in funding to rebuild infrastructure in cities devastated by the years-long fight against the Islamic State (IS).
Barzani hoped that “The Kurdistan Region will benefit from this opportunity and get its share of aid and projects which would be granted to Iraq to rebuild the country.”
After three years of fighting IS, Iraq declared victory in late 2017 against the jihadist group which once controlled two-thirds of the country’s territory in 2014.
The Kurdistan Region’s participation comes as tensions between Erbil and Baghdad endure despite international pressure on the Iraqi Federal Government to begin negotiations and resolve issues with the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region.
According to the KRG press statement, Barzani and Silliman discussed “the latest developments in the dialogue between Erbil and Baghdad to resolve problems between both parties.”
They highlighted the need to secure salaries for civil servants of KRG ministries and lift the international flight ban imposed by the Iraqi government on the Kurdistan Region’s two airports following the Sep. 25, 2017 referendum on independence.
Abadi over the past months has repeatedly affirmed Baghdad would send salaries for employees of the KRG on the public payroll, but so far has yet to do so, prompting the Kurdish official to describe the Iraqi Premier’s statements as ‘propaganda.’
The international flight ban on the Kurdistan Region’s airports came into force on Sep. 29 in response to the referendum, which saw an overwhelming majority favoring statehood.
Barzani and Silliman hoped the talks would have a positive outcome and pave the way for a final solution to the issues plaguing the relationship between Erbil and Baghdad.
There are long-standing disputes between both governments, notably those related to energy, the federal budget, and disputed territories.
Editing by Nadia Riva