Nechirvan Barzani blames Iraq "very oppressive" policies against Kurdistan Region

As part of his New Year's message, Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani launched a broadside against the political parties in central and southern Iraq, characterizing their actions towards the Kurdistan Region as “very oppressive.”

Barzani particularly directed his ire onto the Council of Representatives' passage of the Fiscal Deficit Financing Law in November, which authorizes the federal government to borrow 12 trillion Iraqi dinars ($10 billion) from domestic and foreign sources in order to pay public sector salaries and other expenses.

Parties from the Kurdistan Region abstained from the vote, arguing that the federal government was not living up to the financial obligations it owed the Region's people.

Barzani doubled down on those sentiments Thursday, December 31, in his New Year's missive, saying that Baghdad was depriving public sector workers and pensioners in the Kurdistan Region of their salaries and entitlements.

He said that the federal government, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, and all the state’s institutions should not have accepted such an “injustice” towards the Region’s public servants, adding that the federal lawmakers' actions conflicted with the spirit of mutual benefit and coexistence.

“Iraq’s government should reimburse the Kurdistan Region’s financial entitlements for 2021 in accordance with previous agreements,” he demanded.

Barzani contrasted the actions of federal politicians with what he characterized as the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) good faith during negotiations, saying they showed patience during a recent two-week visit to the Iraqi capital.

“Unfortunately, there is still no good and practical response from the Iraqi federal government to the minimum financial rights of the Kurdistan Region,” he said.

“We expect the United Nations, International community and our partners to play their role in resolving the issues,” Barzani added.

The KRG and the federal government are engaged in a long-running dispute over financial entitlements and oil exports that has only grown deeper as economic conditions have deteriorated because of low oil prices and the coronavirus pandemic.

In many ways, the tone and content of Barzani's statement contrasted with the positive sentiments expressed by the delegation, which was led by KRG Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani, on its return from Baghdad, proclaiming that a fair deal had been reached.

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