Iraqi PM says relations between Iraq and Kurdistan Region in ‘golden era’

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi holds an interview with a number of journalists in Baghdad, May 9, 2021. (PM office)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi said the relations between Baghdad and the Kurdistan Region are in a “golden era” due to the trust between both sides.

“We have a historical relationship with the Kurds, and we have relations with all Kurdish leaders in Sulaimani and Erbil,” Kadhimi said in an interview with a number of journalists in Baghdad.

Kadhimi further said the agreement between Baghdad and Erbil on the Kurdistan Region’s share of the federal budget was a “good deal” and that a committee was working to send the Region’s share.

He further said he had worked with the Kurdish leaders to reach an understanding between the federal government and the Region.

After months of wrangling, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the central government reached an agreement on thorny issues, including oil and non-oil revenues.

Under the 2021 budget law, the Kurdistan Region will be committed to produce 460,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd).

After deducting expenses for production operations in the Region, transport of oil and the domestic consumption of crude oil, the KRG must hand over to Baghdad revenues generated from regional oil exports of 250,000 bpd, according to Iraq’s SOMO pricing, as well as 50 percent of non-oil revenue.

The Kurdistan Region, in return, will receive its share of the budget, which is set at 13.9%.

Regarding disputed areas, Kadhimi said the issue of those areas, claimed by both Erbil and Baghdad, would not be solved within two days.

“We need to establish trust … between the Kurds and Arabs to solve the problem of the disputed territories throughout Iraq,” he told reporters.

“We need a more stable political situation than the current situation in order to build trust to solve this problem,” he continued.

Kadhimi noted that a delegation from the federal government would visit the Kurdistan Region next week to work on coordination between the Iraqi and Kurdish forces in the disputed areas.

The Kurdish officials have warned that Islamic State (ISIS) militants are using a “security vacuum” between Baghdad and Erbil to attack the Iraqi military and Peshmerga forces in the disputed territories.

“The security of Iraq and the region is a collective responsibility,” Kadhimi said.

Regarding Turkish operations, the Iraqi premier said the federal government was working to solve the issue of Turkey’s military operations inside Iraq and the presence of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) on the border areas.

Turkey regularly carries out air and ground attacks against the PKK in the Kurdistan Region. It says neither the Iraqi government nor the Kurdish government has taken measures to combat the group.

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