ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqi President Barham Salih and Iraq’s Finance Minister Fuad Hussein arrived in Erbil on Tuesday to meet with senior Kurdish officials and address the outstanding issues between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the Federal Government of Iraq, including the KRG’s share of the federal budget and Iraq’s upcoming national census.
The officials were received at Erbil International Airport by Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani, Minister of Interior Rebar Ahmed, and Erbil Governor Firsat Sofi.
Upon their arrival, the Iraqi finance minister met with his Kurdish counterpart, Awat Janab, and the Kurdistan Region’s Minister of Planning, Dara Rashid.
.@IKRPresident Nechirvan Barzani greets his Iraqi counterpart Barham Salih upon his arrival in Erbil. Salih is accompanied by Iraq's Finance Minister Fuad Hussein and is expected to hold meetings with senior Kurdish officials. #TwitterKurds pic.twitter.com/Q7301b1aMN— Kurdistan 24 English (@K24English) September 17, 2019
KRG Spokesperson Jutyar Adil described Tuesday’s meetings as “positive.”
“We will combine all our efforts to reach mutual solutions on the outstanding issues” between Erbil and Baghdad, Adil told Kurdistan 24.
“There are a lot of details to discuss for the 2020 budget bill draft, and we will continue to communicate until we further develop the shared vision between Erbil and Baghdad.”
Iraq’s Parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halboosi is also set to arrive in the Kurdistan Region on Wednesday and meet with top KRG officials.
Minister of Planning Rashid told Kurdistan 24 that Halbousi’s meeting would aim to find a common understanding on the issue of oil between Erbil and Baghdad, noting that both sides want “to avoid the problems we faced with the 2019 budget bill.”
Oil revenues, the status of disputed territories, and the KRG’s share of the federal budget are some of the outstanding issues between Erbil and Baghdad.
Ties between the two governments have notably improved since the beginning of 2019, with the formation of a new federal government headed by Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi. The governments had fallen out of favor in the aftermath of the Kurdistan Region’s historic independence referendum in September 2017.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany