Kurdistan delegation returns to Baghdad for negotiations with federal gov't
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A delegation of high-ranking officials representing the Kurdistan Regional Government (KGR) arrived in Baghdad early Tuesday to hold talks with their federal Iraqi counterparts over outstanding disputes between the two governments, a KRG official announced.
The group was headed by regional Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani and included relevant ministers and other officials and key topics on the agenda included oil, the national budget, and border management said Talabani's spokesperson, Samir Hawrami.
“Following the arrival of the KRG delegation to Baghdad, a comprehensive meeting was held with the Iraqi delegation on pending issues, particularly the Kurdistan Region’s financial entitlements and the mechanism of securing it within Iraq’s 2021 budget,” he said in a statement.
It is the first time such a KRG delegation has visited Baghdad following a phone call between Masrour Barzani, the autonomous region's prime minister, and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al- Kadhimi in mid-August, in which the two agreed that Baghdad would send Erbil 320 billion Iraqi dinars ($269 million) on a monthly basis.
According to Talabani's spokesperson, officials from both camps had decided to “form relevant and minor committees to concentrate on talks of oil and gas, border management, electricity, KRG’s financial entitlements, and debts.”
Since the toppling of the former Iraqi regime in 2003, the federal and regional governments have proven unable to find much middle ground on these issues, plus others such as territory disputed by Baghdad and Erbil.
“I urged Baghdad to clinch a budget deal with the Kurdistan Regional Government,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a joint press briefing in late August with Iraq’s foreign minister who was then part of an Iraqi delegation in Washington holding talks on a strategic dialogue between the US and Iraq.
Editing by John J. Catherine