Baghdad, Iraq (KRG.org) – Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Barham Salih this week in Baghdad met Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki and other Iraqi officials. They discussed this year’s budget and agreed that oil exports from the Kurdistan Region would resume by February.
At a joint press conference following the meeting, Prime Minister Maliki described their discussion as positive and said, “One of the meeting’s key achievements was agreeing on the resumption of oil exports from the Kurdistan Region.”
As well as deciding to resume Kurdistan’s oil exports, Prime Minister Salih and Prime Minister Maliki agreed that the Kurdistan Region will keep a share of its crude oil to supply its local refineries and power plants.
Prime Minister Salih said that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the federal government have agreed to review the draft law for Iraq’s 2011 budget, and that their respective finance ministries will work on the review together. A delegation from the Federal Ministry of Finance will visit the Kurdistan Region for discussions. On Tuesday the Iraqi parliament held a first reading of the budget bill, but it included inaccuracies about the KRG's share of the budget. The Kurdistan Alliance bloc has demanded that the bill be returned for amendments.
Both prime ministers said they believed that the outstanding issues should be resolved according to the Iraqi constitution and Iraq’s interests. Prime Minister Salih said that the Kurdistan Region and the KRG are part of Iraq and part of its constitutional system, and the KRG’s success is a success for all of Iraq. He expressed his hope that the new Iraqi government will serve all parts of the country.
Prime Minister Salih was accompanied by KRG ministers and officials. Those attending the meetings included Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Affairs Dr Hussein al-Shahristani and Oil Minister Abdul Kareem Liaibi; and on the KRG side, the Minister for Natural Resources Dr Ashti Hawrami, Higher Education Minister Dr Dlawer Ala’aldeen, and Deputy Finance Minister Rashid Khinsi.
Following his meetings with Iraq’s premier, Dr Salih on Tuesday met MPs, ministers and deputy ministers in the federal government from the Kurdistan Alliance list. He said that they are playing a vital role in Baghdad by representing the people of the Kurdistan Region and defending their rights and demands. He asked them to continue their active role in Iraq’s political process and serve Iraq’s federal and democratic institutions.
They also discussed how to enhance dialogue and cooperation between the KRG, the federal government, the Iraqi parliament and other key institutions. Prime Minister Salih asked the Kurdistan Alliance MPs and ministers to strengthen their relations with the other political blocs and to increase their understanding of the Kurdistan Region’s views and situation.