Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani [R] receives head of the UN Mission in Iraq Jan Kubi [M] and his deputy Alice Walpole on February 4, 2018. Photo: KRG
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The Kurdistan Region’s Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani met with UNAMI chief Jan Kubis and his deputy Alice Walpole on Sunday. Kubis said he is ready to support further talks between Erbil and Baghdad.
“Mr. Kubis expressed his delight concerning the recent talks between Erbil and Baghdad, especially the meetings between the KRG’s and Iraq’s prime ministers and he showed readiness for providing help and support for more technical meetings between both sides,” the KRG said in a statement.
The chief of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) said he would like to see further meetings scheduled to tackle the issue of unpaid public sector salaries and the ongoing ban on international flights into the Kurdistan Region.
There was no immediate statement from the UN Mission in Iraq regarding the meeting.
A dozen committees from Baghdad are in the KRG to audit the payrolls of its various ministries, including the departments of health and education, plus the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources, and the religious affairs.
Last week, the bank account at the Erbil branch of the Iraqi central bank received a bank transfer of 250 billion Iraqi dinars ($210 million). A KRG spokesperson said they do not know whether the money is for the unpaid salaries, as Baghdad has not sent them clarification.
“The KRG Prime Minister thanked [UNAMI] for the visit, [and the] efforts and support of Mr. Kubis for the recent dialogue and discussions between Erbil and Baghdad,” the statement added.
The Kurdish PM said many more steps are needed to resolve the current deadlock, but talks are a good start. He emphasized the need for more serious dialogue.
Relations between Erbil and Baghdad broke down following the Iraqi army incursion into Kirkuk and the disputed territories on October 16. Both the Iraqi Prime Minister and the KRG Prime Minister say progress has been made in mending fences.
In January, the two Prime Ministers have met twice, once in Baghdad and again in Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum.
The UNAMI chief visited Iran on January 29 and met with Iranian officials including Ali Akbar Velayati, a top aide to the Iranian Supreme Leader. Velayati said that the two sides were satisfied Iraq could save its territorial integrity following the Kurdish vote on independence held on September 25.
Last updated at 11:55 p.m.