ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – A delegation from Baghdad will visit Erbil on Sunday as a final stage of settling ongoing disputes with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), a source said on Saturday.
A source who attended a meeting about planning the delegation told Kurdistan 24 that representatives from the Iraqi Interior Ministry are being sent to iron out remaining issues related to Baghdad’s release of long-awaited salaries for KRG public employees and the removal of the international flight ban imposed on airports in the Kurdistan Region.
They will travel to Erbil less than a week after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s Tuesday announcement that his government would release the salaries and lift the flight ban before Newroz.
Newroz, the Kurdish new year, is celebrated on March 21.
“We might send the salaries of employees [of the KRG’s health and education ministries] before Newroz, God willing,” Abadi stated during his weekly press briefing.
The Iraqi government under Nouri al-Maliki’s leadership in 2014 cut the Region’s share of the national budget. Coupled with Baghdad’s ongoing delinquent budget payments to the KRG, this has substantially contributed to the economic crisis in Kurdistan in recent years.
Over the past few months, Abadi has repeatedly stated that he will send the salaries of the KRG employees soon, but has not yet done so, which has led many in the Kurdistan Region to describe Abadi’s promises as ‘propaganda.’
Baghdad imposed the flight embargo on Erbil and Sulaimani airports following the Sep. 25 referendum on independence in the Kurdistan Region, a move Kurdish officials have labeled “an ‘international isolation’ of the Kurdistan Region.
Editing by John J. Catherine