Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani and Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani talked to the press following yesterday’s Parliament session hosting the Kurdistan Region Oil and Gas Council.
Prime Minister Barzani said the Region would not hand oil control to the Iraqi State Oil Marketing Organisation, SOMO. He noted the federal government cannot export oil from Kirkuk without involving the Kurdistan Region.
He said, “We wish to settle all outstanding issues with Baghdad. However, if we do not reach agreement, the Kurdistan Regional Government has other solutions.” The Prime Minister also affirmed that trading with the ISIS terrorist organisation is national betrayal.
He informed the press, “When the Iraqi Government stopped Kurdistan Region’s budget we were not exporting oil and their decision was unilateral. The Kurdistan Region seeks a mechanism where such situations would not reoccur”.
Prime Minister Barzani reiterated that Baghdad has not provided funds for the salaries of the Region’s civil servants since January. He said, “With the policies we have adopted, we have so far managed to pay salaries to some extent.”
He hoped the KRG could soon overcome this situation so the issue of salaries would no longer make headlines. He expressed confidence the KRG would reach that level.
Deputy Prime Minister Talabani informed the press that the United States, Britain, and the United Nations are concerned about the situation and they are exerting pressure on the Iraqi Government to honour the promises they made to the Kurdistan Region during the government formation process.