Kurdistan president: 'I expect' international community, UN to play crucial role in Erbil-Baghdad talks

Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani speaks during a press conference. (Photo: Kurdistan Region Presidency office)
Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani speaks during a press conference. (Photo: Kurdistan Region Presidency office)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani on Thursday said that he "expects" the international community and the United Nations to play a crucial role in ongoing and often contentious Erbil–Baghdad negotiations in efforts to solve several fundamental disputes that include oil, land, and financing disputes.  

“I expect the international community and the UN and our partners to play their roles in resolving [Erbil-Baghdad] issues,” he said.

President Barzani’s remarks came in a New Year's Eve message in which he highlighted what he called the ill-treatment of the autonomous Kurdistan Region’s financial rights and entitlements, particularly with regards to the recently-passed Budget Deficit Law.

The Iraqi parliament on Nov. 12 passed the legislation in the absence of representatives from the Kurdistan Region, who boycotted the session over disagreements about a clause that Kurdish lawmakers described as “unfair” the autonomous region’s share in the federal budget.

Read More: Iraq’s parliament passes deficit law, despite Kurdish objections

President Barzani described the passage of the law as “persecution” of the Kurdistan Region by “Iraq’s major political parties inside Iraqi parliament,” adding that “it aimed to disrupt the services and hunger the people of Kurdistan.”

Last week, the Kurdistan Region’s Council of Ministers called on the UN to participate as a “third party” in the negotiations.

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

Barzani further stated that the passage of the budget law was against “coexistence” and “very irresponsible towards a segment of Iraq’s employees,” saying further that Iraq’s prime minister and federal government should have not accepted that “injustice” against the people of Kurdistan and its employees.

Therefore, he said, the Iraqi government must compensate the Kurdistan Region for events in 2020, according to “previous agreements”.

The KRG and the Iraqi government recently reached a new budget deal for 2021, in which the autonomous region’s financial rights and entitlements are specified. The deal came following two-week-long negotiations between a KRG team and their Iraqi counterparts.

The Kurdistan Region “unfortunately has not yet received a good and practical response from Iraq’s federal government for its minimum financial rights,” said President Barzani in his statement, adding that the federal government “is not showing any willingness to solve problems with Kurdistan Region, but would instead rather punish its people.”

“It is illegal and unconstitutional and politically motivated,” President Barzani concluded.

KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani on Thursday in his own New Year message called for the “full implementation” of the recently struck budget deal between the Region and federal government.

Read More: PM Masrour Barzani calls for ‘full implementation’ of new budget deal in New Year’s message

Editing by John J. Catherine