By Rudaw 3 hours ago
Stephanie Williams, the US Embassy in Baghdad’s Chargé d’Affaires signing a loan guarantee agreement with Fadhil Nabi, the Iraqi deputy minister of finance, January 5, 2017. Photo: US Embassy Baghdad.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — US State Department Spokesman John Kirby said on Friday that the Kurdistan Region should receive revenues from the Iraqi government pursuant to the constitution, and that Thursday’s agreement in Baghdad was a loan guarantee agreement, not a direct loan from the United States to Iraq.
“Back in December, just last month, the Government of Iraq did approve a budget that would provide for the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to receive federal revenues consistent with Article 121 of the Iraqi constitution and requirements in the budget law,” Kirby said in response to the question if there was “any understanding, formal or informal, about allocating part of that loan for the benefit of the Kurdistan Region.”
Article 121 of the Iraqi Constitution stipulates how the federal budget should be shared with regions and governorates. Budget sharing has been a point of contention between Baghdad and Erbil for a number of years particularly since early 2014.
Kirby clarified that Thursday’s agreement signed by Stephanie Williams, the US Embassy in Baghdad’s Chargé d’Affaires, and Iraqi Deputy Minister of Finance Fadhil Nabi was simply a loan guarantee agreement, not the implementation of a loan from the United States to Iraq.
“There wasn’t a loan to Iraq of a billion dollars,” Kirby said. “What there was yesterday was that the United States signed a loan guarantee agreement with Iraq for up to a billion dollars.
“And a loan guarantee is much different than a loan. What this does is it makes it more affordable for the Government of Iraq to be able to borrow money from international capital markets.”
In early December, the Iraqi parliament approved a 100.67 trillion Iraqi dinars (about $85 billion) budget for 2017. It forecasted a deficit of 21.7 trillion dinars ($19 billion) and spending of 100.7 trillion dinars.