Following a recent visit by senior Kurdistan Regional Government, KRG, delegation to the United States to brief the US Administration about the financial crisis in the Kurdistan Region, and to request US support, yesterday Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani received the US Ambassador to Iraq, Mr. Stewart Jones and his accompanying diplomatic team.
In the meeting, which was also attended by Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani, the current financial crisis in the Region, was discussed. The visiting delegation expressed concern and eagerness to find a solution to overcome the difficulties.
Prime Minister Barzani presented a summary of the financial crisis and explained that it was caused by withholding by Baghdad of Kurdistan Region’s share in the national budget since February 2014, the cost of the fight against the Islamic State terrorist organisation, ISIS, accommodating a large number of refugees and internally displaced persons and the recent sharp fall in oil price on the international market.
He outlined KRG’s plan, adopted in 2014, to reduce costs and expenditure while increasing income through reforms in the government institutions.
Both Prime Minister Barzani and Deputy Prime Minister Talabani provided detailed information on the depth and complexity of the financial crisis.
The US delegation expressed its support for the steps taken by KRG to address the situation, and mentioned that the information provided would be taken back to Washington, which will send technical experts and advisers to the Kurdistan Region to help overcome the crisis.
Ambassador Jones praised the role of the Peshmerga Forces in the fight against ISIS, and the efforts by the KRG to accommodate and provide assistance to scores of refugees and IDPs, who fled ISIS terrorist threat and took refuge in the Kurdistan Region.