Erbil, Baghdad conclude talks, to start drafting the oil and gas law
Shafaq News/ The Kurdistan Regional Government delegation concludes their discussions with the Iraqi Government and a team of law experts would draft the oil and gas law in the federal budget.
The President of the Diwan of the Kurdish Council of Ministers, Omid Sabah, stated that the delegation met with the Iraqi Ministry of Oil, the head of the Finance Committee in the Iraqi Parliament, Atwan Al-Atwani, and Iraqi officials to discuss the oil and gas law and the 2023 federal budget law.
The Kurdish group also met with the US Ambassador to Iraq, Alina Romanowski.
"We would continue our talks until we solve the outstanding issues, especially the oil and gas law and the draft budget law," Sabah said.
In turn, the KRG’s spokesperson, Jutiar Adil revealed that a Kurdish team would visit Baghdad on Sunday to start drafting the budget and oil and gas law.
Adil pointed out that there is a preliminary agreement with PM Mohamed S. Al-Sudani regarding the Kurdish entitlements.
Negotiations are underway between the two sides to resolve the differences, including oil, the fiscal budget, and the Peshmerga deployment in the disputed areas.
During the Government of former Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi (2018-2020), both sides concluded an agreement that requires Baghdad to pay all the salaries of the Kurdistan Region for the first time since 2014. In return, Erbil would deliver the revenue of 250,000 barrels of oil out of nearly 500,000 barrels that Kurdistan exports independently.
Baghdad said Erbil did not adhere to this agreement almost wholly, while the Kurdish Government confirmed that it fulfilled its promises.
In May 2020, former PM Mustafa Al-Kadhimi decided to stop paying the salaries of the Region's employees, amounting to nearly 500 million dollars per month, due to the financial crisis.
Consequently, the Region's senior officials, including President Nechirvan Barzani and Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani, visited Baghdad frequently to find solutions, but s
Another part of the disagreement is the disputed areas.
The Iraqi army forces regained in October 2017 control of the Kirkuk Governorate and the disputed areas, extending across a strip starting east from Diyala, passing through Saladin, and reaching southwest of Nineveh.
The Iraqi Kurdistan used to keep control over all those areas after the collapse of the Iraqi army in 2014 following the attack by ISIS.
Since 2017, security in Kirkuk and the disputed areas has been maintained through multiple federal forces, including the army, the federal police, the counter-terrorism service, and the Popular Mobilization Forces.
An announced agreement between Baghdad and Erbil stipulated that four joint security centers be formed in the disputed areas in Kirkuk, Diyala, Makhmur, and Mosul, to cover the vacuum areas between the army and the Peshmerga to prevent ISIS activities. However, the agreement is now suspended, and both sides accuse each other of a lack of responsiveness.
With a new round of talks, many future scenarios are posed for the relationship. But hope was raised by forming a new federal government head by Al-Sudani.