KRG won’t hand over oil dossier to Baghdad, says PM

KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani speaks to reporters in Erbil, February 10, 2021. (PM office)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Prime Minister Masrour Barzani said on Wednesday the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) will not hand over oil dossier to the federal government.

“We are not ready to hand over the oil dossier to Baghdad because it will be the abandoning of constitutional rights,” Barzani said in a press conference.

The prime minister further said the KRG’s relationship with Baghdad is through the government, not state companies.

“SOMO does not represent the new Iraqi federal state and Kurdistan is not represented in the organization,” he added, referring to the State Organization for Marketing of Oil.

In an interview with National News Center published on Saturday, Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani said, “We have the faith that this [new relationship] will be achieved step by step, until we reach the establishment of a new SOMO company which there is a Kurdish member in its board of directors.”

The KRG prime minister also said the relationship between Erbil and Baghdad should be based on rights and duties.

“Our differences go far beyond the budget; it includes disputes over land too. We cannot be expected to fulfill duties alone; it should also cover our rights to investment, sovereign expenses and more,” Barzani said.

Talabani and Iraqi Finance Minister Ali Allawi said in December that Erbil and Baghdad had reached an agreement over the 2021 federal budget bill.

The draft budget law commits the Kurdistan Region to hand over 250,000 barrels of oil per day and 50% of non-oil revenue to Baghdad in exchange for the Region’s share of the budget.

“Regarding an agreement with Baghdad, I am optimistic and want to reach a deal, and we are keen to reach an agreement. Sending all those delegations [to Baghdad] shows that, but we want a constitutional agreement,” Barzani noted.

A high-level delegation led by the KRG deputy premier visited Baghdad several times in the past months to reach an agreement with Baghdad on oil and budget.

Regarding the detention of journalists and activists, Barzani accused some of them of being spies and intruders.

“Those who were detained are not journalists and activists. Some of them were spies of countries and some others were attempted to explode buildings and places of foreigners in the Region,” Barzani said, referring to diplomatic missions.

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