Kurdistan cabinet calls on UN to take greater role in Erbil-Baghdad talks

Kurdistan cabinet calls on UN to take greater role in Erbil-Baghdad talks
author_image Hiwa Shilani
Kurdistan Regional Government’s Council of Ministers, Dec. 23, 2020. (Photo: KRG)
Kurdistan Regional Government’s Council of Ministers, Dec. 23, 2020. (Photo: KRG)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Region’s Council of Ministers called on the United Nations to participate as a third party in ongoing and often contentious Erbil–Baghdad negotiations in efforts to solve multiple issues that include oil, land, and financing disputes.

An announcement released by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) came in a week when its high-level delegation has been in Baghdad to pound out an agreement between the federal and regional administrations.

It stated that the KRG had "implemented all its constitutional obligations" which "does not leave any justification" for Baghdad to continue withholding payments allotted for KRG government salaries.

Prime Minister Barzani valued the efforts and endeavors of the negotiating delegation of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) with the federal government, which stayed in Baghdad for two weeks and conducted a series of meetings and talks with senior officials in the federal government.

A Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) negotiating team visiting Baghdad announced on Tuesday that it had succeeded in reaching an agreement with the federal government regarding the national 2021 draft budget law.

Read More: KRG, Baghdad reach deal on 2021 budget law: Deputy PM

"We will never give up our constitutional rights, and it is unfortunate that the issue of salaries and financial dues has become a political pressure card used against the citizens of the Kurdistan Region," said Regional Prime Minister Masrour Barzani.

He then called on the United Nations to participate, as "a third party" from now on in the talks between the Kurdistan Region and the federal government to help determine the rights and duties of each party.

KRG Spokesperson Jutyar Adil emphasized in a press conference following the meeting that "the regional government affirms the participation of the United Nations as a witness and a neutral party in the negotiations between Baghdad and Erbil."

Adil also pointed out that the KRG also decided to suspend its official government working hours from Dec. 27 until Jan. 2, on the occasion of Christmas and New Year's Day. For this, he said he was extending his sincere congratulations and blessings to the people of Kurdistan, especially the Christian brothers and sisters.

The Cabinet also discussed the epidemiological situation and the new variant of coronavirus, as KRG Minister of Health Saman Barzinji presented a special report in this regard. Ministers then voted to tighten health measures and restrictions on gathering in public places, private businesses, and government buildings.

Editing by John J. Catherine