Iraqi PM adviser: dialogue planned as Kurdistan yields to constitution

Haider Abadi in a meeting with the governor and deputy members of the Board of Nineveh province

Baghdad ( The Iraqi government has said it took a number of decisions setting the path towards dialogue with the Kurdistan Region Government on disputed issues as the autonomous region shows signs of abidance by the Iraqi constitution.

On his facebook page, Ihsan al-Shamri, an adviser to Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, said that “based on the Region’s acceptance of the constitution as an arbitrator, and its willingness to end the crisis amid internal disturbance caused by the salaries’ issue, we have received messages about those developments, which led to the adoption of some decisions”.

Shamri said those decisions include “(Baghdad’s) taking over of border crossings with Iran and Turkey and Iran, and forming a high committee to regulate land ports, customs and airports”.

According to Shamri, “The committee has laid down working papers based on the constitution and the federal government’s authorities, and is currently waiting for the Region’s (governmental-technical) delegation”.

He said the decisions include a separate committee to revise the payroll for Kurdistan’s educational and medical employees, and disbursing payments for water resources workers.

A crisis erupted between Baghdad and Erbil following Kurdistan Region’s vote in September to secede from Iraq, a measure which Baghdad deemed unconstitutional, consequently taking penal economic measures that included an air embargo and a withholding of employee payments.

Speaking to the Iraqi independent New Sabah newspaper on Monday, cabinet spokesman Saad al-Hadithi said technical talks with Kurdistan were “necessary”, but added that “no government delegation from Kurdistan has arrived in Baghdad until now, but we hear about the possibility of partisan delegation coming, which is necessary”.

According to Hadithi, “the federal government currently focuses on the need to launch technical talks with Kurdistan…working on resolving pending issues”.

He said those issues include “border crossings, airports, oil fields and their exports, water resources and the Region’s employee salaries”.

“Kurdistan region is still exporting oil from fields outside its control abroad, away from the federal government, which is an obvious absence of transparency…the best solution is to subject the Region’s exports to the federal government within the constitutional context so as the latter can disburse Kurdish employees’ salaries equally with other provinces”.

Hadith reiterated that Baghdad will maintain an embargo on Kurdistan’s Sulaimaniyah and Erbil airports until the Kurdish government transfers their administration to the central government.

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