ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – On Sunday, an Iraqi ministerial delegation arrived in Erbil and met with senior officials from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to discuss relations between the two governments.
Titled “Joint-meeting between the federal delegation for economic affairs and the council of ministers of the Kurdistan Regional Government – Iraq,” the two sides are slated to discuss lingering disputes between Erbil and Baghdad and ways to address them.
The delegates are meeting “to further coordination and understanding to resolve the [remaining] issues” between the central and regional governments, second deputy parliament speaker, Bashir Haddad, told Kurdistan 24 late Saturday.
The Iraqi delegation included a number of ministers as well as the Governor of the Central Bank of Iraq, while the Kurdish delegation was headed by the KRG Prime Minister, Nechirvan Barzani, and the Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC) Chancellor and nominee for the future premiership, Masrour Barzani.
This is the largest such meeting between Erbil and Baghdad since the formation of the federal government headed by Adil Abdul-Mahdi, who maintains good relations with the Kurds.
The meeting began at noon, with PM Barzani delivering a speech in which he reaffirmed the Kurdistan Region’s commitment to peaceful dialogue to resolve bilateral disputes.
On Thursday, Iraqi oil minister Thamer Ghadhban said that the chief focus of the meeting would be disputes over oil exports and other budget items.
Ties between the two governments continue to improve following a near-complete breakdown in the aftermath of the Kurdish bid for independence in 2017 that culminated with the previous federal administration’s attack on Peshmerga-protected disputed territories, obliging the latter forces’ retreat from the areas they had spared from the Islamic State.
Iraq’s Parliamentary Speaker, Mohammed al-Halbousi, arrived in the Kurdistan Region last Monday and met with senior leaders as well as KRG officials, including the leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), Masoud Barzani.
Barzani “assessed the positive atmosphere prevailing between the [Kurdistan Region] and Baghdad,” noting that strong ties between the KRG and Iraq “favor stability and prosperity throughout Iraq,” a statement from the KDP leader’s office read.
Editing by Nadia Riva