The return of the “Kurds” to the Baghdad table … Negotiations over money, power and oil

Baghdad and Erbil are living in ongoing negotiations between the center’s delegations and the region over the determination of Kurdistan’s share in the 2021 federal budget.

The budget items are being discussed in preparation for their submission to Parliament by the government in its final version in order to complete a vote on them.

The issue of handing over oil imports carried out by the Kurdistan region to the federal treasury comes at the forefront of the problems that hamper the approval of the budget in its final form, in addition to other files including revenue from border crossings and the sharing of powers in the disputed areas.

The negotiating movement between the Kurdish delegations and the authorities in Baghdad witnessed a state of tension and attraction, and sometimes crossing and warning of the end of dialogues without reaching solutions that would satisfy both sides of the conflict.

The central government in Baghdad requires Erbil to supply 250,000 barrels to the National Oil Marketing Company (SOMO), importing part of the region’s border crossings and airports in exchange for the inclusion of the Kurdistan region’s share in the federal budget. .

While the head of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, Alaa Talabani, announced earlier, the demands made by Baghdad during the ongoing negotiations with the Kurdish delegation, which includes handing over the entire region’s oil imports to the ” SOMO “company includes.
This matter, which is considered by the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Masrour Barzani, as an “unconstitutional” claim.

Barzani told a news conference on Wednesday, followed by Al-Ain Al-Akhbar, that “Iraqi political parties are struggling to attract street votes before the election, and Kurdish parties must state their position on the budget file. , “and added:” We refuse to hand over all oil to the central government because the region has obligations “.. ask for a reference to the” previous agreement signed with the federal government. “

This statement comes on the eve of the arrival of the Kurdish delegation led by Qubad Talabani to Baghdad to resume negotiations and propose the views of the Kurdistan region regarding some of the conditions required by the federal government.

And a member of the Kurdistan Regional Parliament, Bahjat Ali, confirmed earlier on Wednesday that the delegation of the Kurdistan Regional Government, which will visit Baghdad, has completed all the technical conditions to reach a comprehensive agreement between the two parties. and to include the region’s share in the 2021 budget.

Informed sources stated that the delegation had received full powers, following the meeting of the Council of Ministers of the region yesterday morning, Wednesday, and that the delegation would make other concessions, including the presence of full control of the federal government over the management of the oil file and outlets in the region, in order to ensure that Kurdistan’s share in the budget is determined.

A document published by media websites near Erbil showed the views of the Kurdistan government on conditions set by Baghdad to approve the region’s share.

The document indicated that “the regional government has no objection to the revision of oil contracts in accordance with the provisions of the constitution, as well as Kurdistan’s willingness to hand over all the oil exported from the region, provided the federal government complies to all oil liabilities, including the cost of production, transportation, storage and debt owed by the region and related to the oil file. ”

With regard to the work of the Federal Office of Financial Supervision and Data Audit, according to the document, “the regional government confirms that it does not object to conducting all audits on the region’s data in accordance with the mechanism set out in the provisions. of Section 34, Paragraph Second, Item B of the Federal Financial Management Act No. 6 of 2019 “.

The oil imports and the revenue from the outlets in the Kurdistan region do not stand as an obstacle to the failure to reach an understanding between Baghdad and Erbil, but several files coincide with it, including the borders of the federal authorities in the disputed areas, as well as the request from the federal government to provide it with statistics on the number of Kurdistan employees and the amount of their salaries.

A few days ago, the Iraqi parliament completed the final amendments to the draft budget in its government version, following discussions and controversy that took place in more than 300 meetings, in which it convened advisers and experts in the field of economics and finance.

Regarding the fears that the approval of the budget will be disrupted for fear of the failure of negotiations between Baghdad and Erbil, the representative of the Al-Hikma movement, Ali Al-Badir, believes that “the House of Representatives is not much will allow the budget to be disrupted due to political differences. There is a tendency to pass the budget according to the parliamentary majority, even if the voting session is boycotted by some political parties. ” Kurdish or otherwise, because this disruption negatively affects the country’s economy. situation.”

Baghdad accuses the Kurdistan government of violating the constitution and alienating the region’s resources away from central Baghdad authorities, especially meaning that oil is being sold and not handing over the resources of ports and airports to the federal budget.

The government of Baghdad revealed a few days ago that it had launched a lawsuit before the International Court of Justice, which was filed in Al-Abadi’s government and suspended by the resigned prime minister, Adel Abdul-Mahdi, against Turkey. because he allowed the export of oil. of the Kurdistan region through its pipelines.

The call includes a claim for compensation of about $ 30 billion as speculative benefits for Erbil’s oil exports through Turkey almost 7 years ago.

The Kurdistan Regional Government has been exporting oil from the region to Turkey since 2014, which Baghdad saw at the time as a violation of the constitution.

Earlier, deputies in the Kurdish Change Movement unveiled an agreement signed between Erbil and Ankara that includes the sale of oil to Turkey for a period of fifty years.

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