President Nechirvan Barzani addresses key issues: salaries, oil, and Kurdish relations

President Nechirvan Barzani addresses key issues: salaries, oil, and Kurdish relations

Shafaq News/ The President of the Kurdistan Region, Nechirvan Barzani, in an interview with Al-Arabiya and Al-Hadath news channels, shed light on various issues concerning Iraq and the Region, including the disbursement of salaries to the Region's employees, oil revenues, and the relationship of Kurdish parties.

Salaries of Kurdistan's employees

Salaries are among the main outstanding issues between the Iraqi and the Kurdish governments, along with the oil export and disputed areas.

President Barzani revealed an understanding with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani regarding the disbursement of salaries for the Region's employees in the interview.

"During my recent visit to Baghdad, I held extensive discussions with the Prime Minister, and we are approaching a resolution to the salary issue."

Barzani highlighted the limited financial resources, emphasizing, "In the past, we used to sell oil in Kurdistan to secure salaries, and now the oil-selling process has stopped."

"The Kurdistan Regional Government expects Baghdad to take responsibility for ensuring the salaries of the region's citizens, considering them part of Iraq."

"This is their responsibility, and the Prime Minister understands that."

Oil Issue Between Iraq and Kurdistan

On March 2023, Turkiye halted shipments of KRI's oil to Ceyhan port following an international arbitration decision that obligated Ankara to pay compensation to Baghdad for breaching a 1973 pipeline agreement, allowing the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to export oil without the Iraqi government's consent.

The oil pipeline stretching from Kirkuk governorate to Ceyhan port is the sole export route for the crude produced from northern Iraq's oil fields.

Addressing Iraq's allegations that previous oil revenues, exported through the Ceyhan port of Turkiye, did not enter the government's treasury but went into "private pockets," Barzani clarified the process during his tenure as Prime Minister, "the State Organization for Marketing Oil (SOMO) oversaw oil exports, with revenues approved by the Central Bank of Iraq and utilized for salary payments transparently."

"The entire process underwent thorough auditing by international companies scrutinizing all the figures; these audited numbers still exist, and a detailed account was handed over both to Baghdad and the Kurdistan Parliament…any person seeking information about this matter would find everything available with the utmost transparency."

Barzani dismissed accusations of one-sided oil sales, stating that in 2014 Iraq cut the Kurdistan Region's budget, prompting independent oil exports to secure salaries.

KDP-PUK relationship

Barzani pointed out disagreements between the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), stressing the need to concert efforts to find solutions and improve relations.

"We face challenges, and we try to find solutions. The situation is unhealthy for the Kurdistan Region, and efforts from both sides should be directed towards improving this relationship."

Reconstruction in Kurdistan

The program host described Nechirvan Barzani as the "pioneer of the development process in the Kurdistan Region," highlighting the significant changes since her last visit in 2007.

Asking President Barzani about the reconstruction in the Region, he said, "The rebuilding of the Kurdistan Region began in 2005 but faced substantial delays due to the impact of ISIS…despite no severe security threats, but Kurdistan faces economic challenges due to the non-export of oil and salary-related issues." expressing optimism about the economic future of Kurdistan once the oil export and salary matters are resolved with Baghdad.

In conclusion, Barzani affirmed his readiness to spare no efforts for the well-being of all Iraqis, considering Kurdistan as an integral part of Iraq.

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