PM Barzani, UK envoy to Iraq highlight KRG delegation visit to Baghdad
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani and the United Kingdom Ambassador to Iraq Stephen Hitchen discussed the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) visit to Baghdad last week to resolve the Erbil-Baghdad budgetary dispute.
Barzani and Hitchen described the visit, which included at least 10 meetings with various Iraqi top leaders, including heads of parties, as a “positive step” towards resolving the outstanding issues between the Kurdish and Iraqi governments, according to a statement from the premier’s office.
They also stressed the importance of protecting the Kurdistan Region’s stability and security, per the press release.
I spoke to my friend @MasrourBarzani about the dispute between Baghdad & Erbil. Stability in KRI is important for Iraq. The UK hopes to see a resolution soon. All government employees in Iraq, including in the KRI, deserve to be paid for their work at the end of every month. pic.twitter.com/V77QEYSjOO— Stephen Hitchen FCDO (@SCHitchenFCDO) September 16, 2023
Saturday’s meeting marks the second meeting between the British envoy and Barzani following the envoy’s inauguration to the post in late July.
In late June, the UK named Mr. Stephen Hitchen as the country’s new envoy to Iraq, replacing Mark Bryson-Richardson.
Accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani and senior KRG officials, Barzani visited Baghdad on Thursday and met with the Iraqi prime minister, president, and speaker of parliament to find a mechanism to resolve the budgetary dispute, which had delayed the payment of Kurdish civil servants’ salaries for three months.
Following the meetings, Barzani announced short-term and long-term solutions that had been proposed to the Iraqi officials in order to overcome the dispute.
Amendments should be made to the country’s three-year budget law adopted in June, according to the long-term plan, while the short-term solution focuses on reimbursing funds to the Kurdish public employees.
Despite meeting its commitments as outlined in the agreements, Erbil asserts that the federal government has not disbursed salaries to its civil servants as per their prior mutual agreement.