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Kurdistan Regional Government Council of Ministers convenes on dialogue with Baghdad

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq (GOV.KRD) – Prime Minister Masrour Barzani today chaired a cabinet meeting to discuss ongoing negotiations with the Federal Government of Iraq on outstanding issues.

Joined by Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani, the Prime Minister recognised the tireless efforts of the government delegation that spent two weeks negotiating with federal authorities in Baghdad. He stressed the government is prepared to settle on a peaceful and fair resolution to ongoing disputes within the framework of the constitution, ensuring there are no challenges in Baghdad to an equitable agreement that protects the Kurdistan Region’s financial entitlements.

Prime Minister Barzani also emphasised the government will continue to defend the constitutional rights of the people of Kurdistan, warning that Erbil’s share of the federal budget is being used as a tool against the people to apply political pressure on the Kurdistan Regional Government. He called on the United Nations to take part in future negotiations with Baghdad to reach a lasting agreement, defining the rights and obligations of both parties.

During the meeting, the government’s High-level Delegation on Baghdad Relations briefed the Cabinet on their talks with federal authorities, which included negotiations regarding Erbil’s share of the federal budget. The delegation updated Cabinet on the Kurdistan Region’s share in the 2021 federal budget bill, which was recently approved by the Federal Government. The delegation urged federal authorities to implement the Federal Fiscal Deficit Bill as well, adding that the Kurdistan Regional Government has fulfilled its obligations in this regard and is therefore entitled to receive its share. The Cabinet called on the Federal Government to promptly send Erbil its share of the budget and in accordance with the terms of the legislation.

The Council of Ministers also agreed to inform the Kurdistan Parliament, political parties, and the public on details of the recent negotiations with Baghdad, outlining the stance of federal authorities regarding the Kurdistan Region’s constitutional rights and financial entitlements.

Minister of Finance and Economy, Awat Sheikh Janab, and Minister of Planning, Dara Rashid, briefed the Cabinet on estimated public revenues, expenses, and deficit for the fiscal year 2021 in the Kurdistan Region, including ongoing efforts to table its 2021 budget bill. The Cabinet also examined opportunities to restructure the tax system, public revenues, and spending.

The Cabinet discussed the rising price of the US dollar against the Iraqi dinar, and tasked relevant departments with monitoring the market and limiting the raising of currency values.

Cabinet Members addressed the continued spread of the coronavirus and its new variant, deciding to toughen mitigation measures in public places, government, and private sector institutions. Minister of Health Dr. Saman Barzinji presented a report in this regard.

The Council of Ministers expressed their best wishes to the people of the Kurdistan Region for the New Year, and wished fellow Christians a Merry Christmas. They also announced the public holiday period will start December 27 to January 2.