US Encourages Dialogue to Resolve Issues for Passage of Iraq's Three-Year Budget Bil
In a press conference held in Sulaimani, US Ambassador to Iraq Alina L. Romanowski emphasized the importance of continued talks between Iraqi and Kurdistan Region parties to address pending issues in order to pass the country's three-year budget bill. The ambassador's remarks came as the Iraqi parliament prepared to vote on the budget bill for the years 2023, 2024, and 2025.
The draft budget law underwent unexpected changes by the Finance Committee, leading to a delay in the parliamentary session. One of the amendments in question requires the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to repay deducted amounts from public salaries.
The KRG argues that these deductions were made as a result of Baghdad's refusal to pay its share of the federal budget and asserts that it is Baghdad's responsibility to repay these amounts, estimated to be in the millions of dollars.
According to the amended Articles 13 and 14 of the draft budget, individual Kurdistan Region provinces have the option to directly receive their financial entitlements from Baghdad in case the regional government fails to equitably share the revenues.
In response to these amendments, the Region's political parties are engaging in discussions with the government to form a coalition aimed at reversing the changes, which the KRG considers a violation of previous agreements between Erbil and Baghdad, including the April 4 deal to resume oil exports to Turkey's Ceyhan port.
The US continues to encourage dialogue and negotiations between all parties involved, emphasizing the significance of reaching an agreement on a fair division of revenue for the stability of Iraq. The outcome of the parliamentary vote on the budget bill remains to be seen as discussions and negotiations continue to address the pending issues.