Baghdad to Resume Negotiations with Erbil
Growth in KRG’s oil exports has caused central government to reconsider position

Basnews | Hemin Salih views 26.08.2015 12:44

BAGHDAD – After almost two years of disputes over oil and the budget, and following several failed agreements between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the Iraqi Central Government, a delegation from Baghdad is planning to visit Erbil in the near future to resume negotiations.

A Member of the Parliamentary Committee for Oil and Gas affairs told BasNews that the delegation will be headed by the Iraqi Oil Minister who will present a new oil deal to KRG officials.

According to analysts, the growth in KRG’s oil exports and the latest visit by US envoys to Erbil have made Baghdad reconsider its policy toward the Kurds.

In a statement on August 20th, the Ministry of Natural Resources of Iraq declared that the KRG’s oil revenue has increased as it earned over $4.5 billion in the past two months alone.

Member of the Parliamentary Committee for Finance and Economy, MP Ahmad Rashid told BasNews that Iraqi officials will ask about the KRG’s projections for exports in 2016 in order to determine Erbil’s share of budget for the next year. “They are trying to solve the disputes, and avoid the tension that has characterised 2015.”

MP Rashid does not expect the KRG to hand over all oil to the central government. He believes Kurdish officials should reopen the KRG’s representative office in Baghdad. The office was abolished by the former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

A Kurdish MP in Baghdad Ghazi Sarhan told BasNews that KRG officials should ask for greater guarantees from Baghdad if they are to reach an agreement.

“Erbil has noticeably increased its oil exports, and Baghdad has regularly failed to remain loyal to previous agreements with the KRG, so they must assure the Kurds about their commitment in this new phase of negotiations,” MP Sarhan said.