PM Barzani urges Iraqi president to use ‘his powers’ as constitution guardian
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani on Thursday said that he had urged Iraqi President Abdul Latif Rashid in Baghdad to use his authority as the “protector of the Constitution” to intervene in the outstanding issues between Erbil and Baghdad.
Prime Minister Barzani and President Rashid met in Baghdad following the Kurdish leader’s meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ Al-Sudani on early Thursday.
“I urged the President of the Federal Republic to use his powers as the protector of the Constitution,” Barzani wrote in a social media post on X platform, formerly known as Twitter.
The leaders highlighted outstanding issues between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the Iraqi federal government, including the budgetary dispute as well as the disputed territories, particularly in Sinjar and Kirkuk.
Barzani is accompanied by his Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani and ministers of interior and finance and economy, along with other senior Kurdish officials.
Today in Baghdad, I met with President @LJRashid. Our agenda focused on the situation in Kirkuk and Sinjar, in addition to the Erbil-Baghdad disagreements.— Masrour Barzani (@masrourbarzani) September 14, 2023
I urged the President of the Federal Republic to use his powers as the protector of the Constitution. pic.twitter.com/UXszFpwX59
The visit comes as Baghdad has refused to pay the Kurdish share in the share for the last three months, resulting in delayed payments of Kurdish civil servants for more than two months.
Despite fulfilling its obligations under the agreements, Erbil says the federal government has not paid its civil servants according to what the two sides had previously agreed upon.
Barzani is set to meet with other top Iraqi officials during his visit.
At least 10 meetings have been confirmed on the premier’s schedule, lasting until midnight, Aziz Ahmad, the deputy chief of staff to Barzani, said in a separate social media post early Thursday.
Since its adoption in early June, KRG diplomats have alleged the budget has not been implemented properly by the government. Instead of paying the Kurdish share, they allege Baghdad has released allowances to Erbil in order to cover the public salaries. The KRG has previously said the 500 billion dinars (over $384 million) is not sufficient to pay the salaries.
Hailed as one of the country’s biggest budgets, the state expenditures were set at 198.91 trillion Iraqi dinars ($153 billion), with a deficit of more than 64 trillion dinars (over $48 billion).
The Kurdistan Region’s share in the federal budget is set at 12.67 percent, amounting to more than $12 billion annually.
The management of oil and gas has been among the thorny issues between Erbil and Baghdad for over a decade, leading to the suspension of the Region’s share in previous federal budgets.