KRG reveals oil meeting results with Baghdad, addresses salary concerns

KRG reveals oil meeting results with Baghdad, addresses salary concerns

Shafaq News/ On Wednesday, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) announced important progress following a meeting held in Baghdad concerning the resumption of oil exports from the Region through the Turkish Ceyhan pipeline.

According to the KRG's spokesperson, Peshawa Hawramani, a meeting in Baghdad focused on discussions about resuming oil exports and the positive trajectory of negotiations between Erbil and Baghdad. This progress comes despite previous disagreements related to oil production.

Hawramani stated, "While a final resolution to this matter has not yet been reached, we remain optimistic. The Kurdish government has engaged in negotiations with Baghdad from multiple perspectives."

He clarified that the current stage involves reaching an agreement between oil companies, the federal government, and the regional government while safeguarding the constitutional rights of the Region.

On the issue of salaries, Hawramani noted an existing agreement between Baghdad and Erbil, highlighting that "there are no hindrances to the timely payment of salaries to security forces. Any remaining salaries owed to security forces will be disbursed following the Eid holiday."

In January, Iraq's top court ordered the federal government to cover public sector salaries in the autonomous Kurdistan region, where some workers have gone without pay for months.

Civil servants have taken the regional and federal authorities to court and demonstrated over unpaid salaries in Kurdistan, where officials have long accused Baghdad of not sending the necessary funds.

The Supreme Court said the central administration would pay government workers, employees at public institutions, social benefit recipients, and pensioners directly instead of through the regional administration.

In September 2023, Baghdad agreed to increase funds allocated to Iraqi Kurdistan, saying it would provide the northern Region with three annual payments of 700 billion dinars (about $535 million).

Thanks to oil exports, the Region previously had independent funding that partly covered salaries.

However, a dispute involving the federal government and Turkiye, through which the oil had been exported, has blocked that source of income for the regional administration since late March.

Iraqi Kurdistan and Baghdad later agreed in principle that sales of Kurdish oil would pass through the federal government. In exchange, 12.6 percent of Iraq's public spending will go to the Autonomous Region.

The court, in its ruling, also ordered the Kurdish administration to hand over "all its oil and non-oil revenues" to the federal government and an audit of relevant accounts.

With oil revenues gone, Kurdistan's current main source of revenue is tax collected at border crossings with neighboring countries, including Iran and Turkiye, two of Iraq's main regional trade partners.

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