Iraqi Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi. Official photo.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has suggested that Baghdad is ready to provide the monthly salaries of all Kurdish civil servants if the Erbil government agrees to hand over to the central government Kirkuk’s oil which is currently under Kurdish control.
This statement was in a meeting with the parliamentary finance committee in Baghdad, said Kurdish MP Qadir Mohammed, who attended the meeting with the Iraqi prime minister.
According to Qadir, Abadi had said that the federal government was able to not only provide the monthly wages of all Kurdish civil servants, but pay Kurdistan Region’s budget in full.
Qadir claimed that he and other fellow Kurdish MPs had told the Iraqi premier that his statement was not satisfactory and that he should take actual steps towards solving his disputes with Erbil instead.
Abadi told the parliamentary committee and Kurdish MPs that the government in Erbil earned 20 percent of Iraq’s overall income through its own oil exports “and therefore should be able to pay its civil servants,” Qadir said.
Kurdish leaders have long dismissed such claims by Baghdad as political maneuvering and that in private meetings the Iraqi government, including its PM Abadi, have said that they cannot afford to provide Erbil’s budget as Iraq suffers from severe shortage of cash.
Qadir said that the Kurdish MPs had advised the Iraqi prime minister that the Peshmerga forces were part of Iraq’s defense system and that their budget should not be entangled in the Erbil-Baghdad disputes.
Abadi’s response was that Baghdad has been giving out Peshmerga salaries every month without delay to the amount of 38 billion Iraqi dinars, said Qadir.
Shirin Housni, a Kurdish MP and member of the finance committee thought that such remarks from Abadi were only excuses and procrastination on the part of the federal government to avoid giving Erbil its fair share of the budget.