PM Barzani, US envoy to Iraq discuss Kurdistan Region's constitutional rights
ERBIL (Kurdistan24) – Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani on Monday received United States Ambassador to Iraq Alina L. Romanowski and an accompanying delegation, according to a statement from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
A major focus of the discussion was the Kurdistan Region's constitutional rights and financial entitlements under the federal budget law.
PM Barzani pointed out that there are parties within Iraq that wish to exploit the Kurdistan Region for their own illicit financial gain. The KRG has provided the Iraqi government with its interpretation of the budget law based on constitutional grounds. As the premier further explained, Kurdistan Region civil servants should be paid federally-funded salaries as their counterparts in Iraqi provinces.
Another topic of the meeting was to discuss the recent events in Kirkuk, in which both sides stressed the importance of normalizing the return of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) headquarters and maintaining security in Kirkuk.
A protest took place on Sept. 2 by Kurds against the closure of the Kirkuk-Erbil road by the supporters of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), following the latter's opposition to the handover of the KDP headquarters on Aug. 28, as mandated by Prime Minister Shia al-Sudani. In total, four Kurds were killed and fifteen were injured after the PMF opened fire on the protesters.
In the past, the US has been heavily involved in the negotiations between the two sides, providing assistance and support in order to ensure that the Kurdistan Region's rights are respected. The US has long been an ally of the Kurdistan Region, providing military and political support in the fight against ISIS.
The two partners also share strong economic ties, as exhibited by several American businesses and investments operating in the Region. Moreover, the US has invested in a roughly $800 million state of the art consulate in Erbil that is scheduled to be completed by July 8, 2024.
Currently, there are approximately 5,000 US military personnel in the Kurdistan Region as part of the International Coalition to Defeat ISIS.
Always a pleasure to meet with Prime Minister @masrourbarzani. We exchanged views on the KRG’s role in federal Iraq and regional stability and security. We also agreed on the importance of dialogue with Baghdad on budget issues.— Ambassador Alina L. Romanowski (@USAmbIraq) September 12, 2023