ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The top Kurdish official on Sunday expressed concerns post-2003 Iraq is straying further away from principles of power-sharing and consensus as Baghdad passed the 2018 budget bill despite a Kurdish boycott in Parliament in defense of the Kurdistan Region’s constitutional and financial rights.
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is deeply worried about Iraq passing the 2018 budget in Baghdad while ignoring Kurdish demands and refusing to review the Kurdistan Region’s allocated share in the bill, KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani said during his weekly press briefing in Erbil.
He said it is regrettable to see the principles of power-sharing and equal partnership, on which post-2003 Iraq was built, change to unchecked majority-rule, describing it as a dangerous sign for the country’s future.
Barzani said the budget bill, approved by the Iraqi Parliament, could not meet the KRG’s public employees salary needs.
“We will hold a meeting with Kurdish factions to have a united voice when defending Kurdish constitutional rights in Baghdad.”
He noted that the KRG was still hopeful in resolving disputes between Erbil and Baghdad through dialogue and in line with the Iraqi Constitution.
Barzani mentioned that previously, the Kurdish factions in Baghdad met with the Iraqi President Fuad Masum, and conveyed the message that the KRG and the people of the Kurdistan Region expected him to defend the constitutional rights of all the people of Iraq, including the Kurds. Masum remained silent on the contentious budget bill throughout the months of deliberation in Parliament.
Post-2003 Iraq was built on the principles of partnership and respect for the constitution, Barzani continued. “Stability in Iraq cannot be obtained by ignoring the rights of one component in the country, be it the people of the Kurdistan Region, or any other.”
Issues cannot be solved by picking winners and losers, and can only progress within the framework of the Iraqi Constitution, Barzani stressed.
He asserted the KRG had offered Baghdad export Kirkuk’s oil through the Kurdistan Region’s pipelines to Turkey, and use that revenue to provide the KRG’s public service employees’ salaries. The Iraqi government had initially agreed but has yet to officially acknowledge the deal, Barzani claimed.
Regarding the role of the US in easing tensions between Erbil and Baghdad, the Kurdish leader said, “If I meet with American officials again, I will tell them to explain and define what they mean when they say they support “a strong KRG.” Their actions and policies do not match their statements.”
Editing by Nadia Riva