World Bulletin/News Desk
Iraq’s federal government and the semiautonomous Kurdish Regional Government have agreed to resolve all outstanding issues between them, including the crucial issue of oil exports, it was announced Thursday.
According to a statement published on the Kurdish Regional Government’s Arabic website, Iraq’s Federal Oil Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi met with Prime Minister of the Kurdish Regional Government Nechirvan Barzani and Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani in Erbil.
The two sides reached an agreement to resolve all outstanding issues after a fruitful discussion, the statement said.
According to the statement, three major breakthroughs were made in the meeting, which it hoped would eventually resolve all outstanding issues between the parties in the future.
The first breakthrough is Iraqi federal government’s agreement to transfer $500 million to the cash-strapped Kurdish Regional Government.
The regional government reportedly didn’t even have money to pay the salaries of its own government employees, many of whom haven’t been paid for months.
In return, the Kurdish Regional Government has agreed to put 150,000 barrels of crude oil per day at the disposal of Iraq’s federal government, the statement said.
The statement added that Barzani along with his delegation would also visit Baghdad in the next few days to develop a comprehensive, just and constitutional plan to resolve all outstanding issues with the federal government.
Relations between Erbil and Baghdad have been strained since the Kurdish Regional Government began exporting oil independently to world markets via pipelines through Turkey in January.
Nouri al-Maliki, the former Iraqi prime minister, had retaliated to the unilateral move by cutting the Kurdish government's share in Iraq’s federal budget.
Iraq’s federal government had said the regional government exported Iraqi oil illegally without Baghdad’s authorization, while Erbil argued the oil sales were in compliance with the new Iraqi constitution.
The Kurdish Regional Government had also announced in October that its oil exports would increase from 250,000 to 450,000 barrels per day by the end of this year.
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