Kurds Will Return to Baghdad to Negotiate Oil Exports

“No date has been set,” Dizayee told NIQASH. “And the names of the members of the negotiating team have not yet been announced either. But all this is going to happen soon.”

During a meeting with Marc Eichhorn, the new German consul in the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, the Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani also mentioned this. Barzani said that the region's authorities were ready to send a delegation to Baghdad to resolve problems.

The plan to go back to Baghdad is seen as a sign that Iraqi Kurdistan's bid for economic independence has failed, suggest local observers.

“Since May this year there's been no discussions between the Iraqi kurdish government and Baghdad regarding the region's share of the Iraqi budget or regarding oil sales,” confirms Iraqi Kurdish politician, Ali Hama Salih, a member of the anti-corruption Change movement and deputy head of the Iraqi Kurdish Parliament's Committee on Finance and Economics. “It is unfortunate that the region wasn't successful in attempts to sell oil independently, without going back to Baghdad.”

Hama Salih, who used to front a television show unmasking local corruption, was critical of Iraqi Kurdish authorities, saying there was a lack of transparency in oil sales.

The decision to sell oil independently was a bad one, argues Kamal Raouf, an activist, senior journalist and independent editor in Iraqi Kurdistan, mainly because of the way it was done.

“Erbil basically gave the Iraqi government full freedom to punish Kurdistan,” Raouf says. “It allowed the Iraqi government to suspend budget payments as well as any payments to local provinces. This has only made Iraqi Kurdistan's financial crisis worse. So yes, we can say that the move [toward economic independence] has failed.”

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