Mending fences: Iraq’s President Salih leads Baghdad delegation to Erbil

Lawk Ghafuri

Iraq’s President Barham Salih (L) is greeted by Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani at Erbil International Airport, September 17, 2019. Photo: Iraqi Presidency

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Iraqi President Barham Salih arrived in the Kurdistan Regional capital Erbil on Tuesday evening at the head of a delegation sent to discuss oil, the budget, and territorial disputes – hot topics that have long caused ruptures between the semi-autonomous region and the federal government.

Delegations have shuttled back and forth between Erbil and Baghdad in recent months as relations between the two continue to improve after hitting their lowest ebb in late-2017.

Erbil and Baghdad have formed committees for talks on the joint administration of the disputed territories, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)’s share of the federal budget, and the touchy subject of independent oil sales.

President Salih, accompanied by Iraq’s Kurdish finance minister, Fuad Hussein, was met at Erbil International Airport on Tuesday afternoon by Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani.

During his stay in Erbil, Salih will hold talks with his Kurdistan Region counterpart, Prime Minister Masrour Barzani, and Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) chief Masoud Barzani to further mend fences.

Fuad Hussein will meanwhile meet with the KRG’s finance ministry to discuss the budget issue.

Baghdad cut the KRG’s share of the budget from 17 percent to zero in 2014 in response to the Region’s independent sale of oil. Coupled with a costly war with the Islamic State (ISIS) and the collapse of global oil prices in 2016, the Region was plunged into a financial crisis.

The KRG’s share of the budget was reinstated in 2018, but at the reduced rate of roughly 12 percent. 

Under the 2019 budget, the KRG agreed to send 250,000 barrels of oil per day to Iraq’s state oil marketing body SOMO in exchange for its share of the budget. Although Baghdad has delivered funds to Erbil’s central bank, the KRG is yet to send a single barrel of oil. 

Omed Sabah, Chairman of the KRG Council of Ministers, told Rudaw the Ministry of Finance has prepared a report outlining the KRG’s requirements from the 2020 federal budget.

“The KRG finance ministry aims to discuss the demands of the KRG from the 2020 federal budget and hand over a detailed report on this case,” Sabah said.

Mohammad al-Halbousi, Iraq’s parliamentary speaker, is also scheduled to visit Erbil on Wednesday to discuss the federal budget.

Jutiar Adil, the KRG spokesperson, told Rudaw the regional government is optimistic about the talks with the Iraqi delegation.

“In general, the Iraqi delegation is in Erbil to discuss the unresolved issues between Erbil and Baghdad,” Adil said. “There are very positive talks between Erbil and Baghdad, and more talks are underway to reach an agreement with the Iraqi government.”

Safin Dizayee, head of the KRG foreign ministry, visited Baghdad on Sunday for talks with top Iraqi officials including President Salih.

Dizayee told Rudaw the new positive atmosphere in meetings between Erbil and Baghdad officials means the two sides can tackle points of conjecture “more efficiently”.

Erbil-Baghdad relations have generally improved since Adil Abdul-Mahdi became prime minister in late 2018. 

As an independent technocrat with historically good relations with the Kurds, Abdul-Mahdi has presided over a thawing of the tensions between the two, which reached their peak under his predecessor Haider al-Abadi.

Already strained relations collapsed on October 16, 2017 when Iraqi forces and Iran-backed militias launched an offensive into the disputed territories, forcing the Kurdish Peshmerga to withdraw.

Improvements in the relationship were noted by Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, the UN Special Envoy to Iraq, in her recent quarterly briefing to the UN Security Council.   

Hennis-Plasschaert told the Security Council she is hopeful the two sides can resolve their differences now that both governments have been formed.

“This has created a positive momentum to advance of negotiations between Baghdad and Erbil, also demonstrated by the establishment of a High-Level Joint Committee,” she said.

“And I cannot deny: the expectations are high, in particular on key files – including Kirkuk, Sinjar, and revenue sharing,” she added.

The failure of both sides to cooperate on security in the disputed territories has contributed to a resurgence of ISIS, which has exploited the security vacuum between Peshmerga and Iraqi lines – particularly in the hotly disputed and oil-rich province of Kirkuk. 

In late August, Iraq’s Interior Ministry reached an agreement with its KRG counterpart on visa issuing powers and on the lifting of entry fees imposed on Iraqis entering the Kurdistan Region.  This followed the suspension of internal customs duties.

The President of the Republic participates in a high-level meeting in the Kurdistan Region

Editing Date:: 2019/17 17:34

{Erbil: Euphrates News} President Barham Saleh, currently participating in a high-level meeting in the Kurdistan region.

The President of the Republic Barham Saleh, arrived on Tuesday evening 17-9-2019 to the city of Erbil.

A parliamentary source told the correspondent (Euphrates News) that “Barham Saleh now entered a meeting of all government and legislative leaders and

Political. ”

“Where the meeting included, the President of the Kurdistan region and his deputies, and the Presidency of the Parliament, the Prime Minister and most of the ministers.”

He pointed out that “it is hoped that the Speaker of the House of Representatives Mohammed Halbousi tomorrow to Erbil.”

The deputy in the Kurdistan Parliament of the Kurdistan Democratic Party Hvidar Ahmed, revealed the goal of President Barham Saleh’s visit to Erbil.

“The aim of the visit is to bring the center and the region closer together and find a common solution to resolve many controversial issues,” Ahmed said.

He stressed, “The visit will include his meeting with the Presidents of the province of Nechirvan Barzani and the government Masroor Barzani, in addition to a meeting with Democratic Party leader Masoud Barzani.”

By: Alaa Altaie,15700021,15700043,15700186,15700191,15700253,15700256,15700259&usg=ALkJrhj2Ct-LzDnzN0xBFYrVA7wkz_S8RA

Kurdistan: steps are going towards solving all problems with Baghdad

2019/09/17 12:44:39

After a meeting between the delegation of the Kurdistan Regional Government and Iraqi Finance Minister Fuad Hussein, on Tuesday, the spokesman for the Kurdistan Regional Government, Gutiar Adel, said that efforts are moving towards resolving all problems between Erbil and Baghdad.

“Today’s meeting was in a positive atmosphere,” Adel said at a press conference on Tuesday evening, adding that all efforts were to find a common solution suitable for all issues.

Adel explained that there are many details on the problems, indicating that the talks will continue on those details.

The President of the Republic Barham Saleh, accompanied by Federal Minister of Finance Fuad Hussein to Arbil, the capital of the Kurdistan region is scheduled to arrive in the House of Representatives Mohammed Halbousi tomorrow to Arbil.

Halbousi urges America to expand military and political partnership with Iraq

Baghdad / News:

Speaker of the House of Representatives Mohammed Halbousi on Tuesday called on the United States and the international community to expand the military and political partnership with Iraq.

A statement from al-Halbousi’s office received by Al-Akhbariya said that he had received former US ambassador and researcher at the Middle East Institute in Washington Robert Ford.

He added that “Halbousi discussed during the meeting political developments in Iraq, and security stability achieved after the victory in the war against the Islamic State terrorist organization.”

“The meeting discussed Arab and regional developments, noting Iraq’s role in preserving the region’s balance,” he said.

For his part, Robert Ford expressed his happiness for the political and economic development and security stability in Iraq, stressing the readiness of the Middle East Institute to contribute to the creation of a constructive dialogue in the region; to achieve peace and freedom and support democratic institutions.,15700021,15700043,15700186,15700191,15700253,15700256,15700259&usg=ALkJrhh6XYIVkFqm7aN5XwpGlExKE3l1YA

Abdul Mahdi soon to the United States

Release date:: 9/17/2019 18:59

BAGHDAD – The adviser to Prime Minister Abdul Hussein al-Hanin on Tuesday, the most important agenda of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi’s visit to the Republic of China, which starts next Thursday, stressing that the next direction will be towards the United States to sign contracts after Iraq opened the doors with Neighborhood and brothers.

“The prime minister will go to China on Thursday at the head of a large delegation, which has clear economic features, including ministers, advisers and 16 governors,” Al-Hanin said in a press statement.

He added that “the program of the next visit and economic files, carried by the Prime Minister include major projects in roads and transport, services, education, health and other,” pointing out that “the Iraqi and Chinese sides have prepared well for the visit in the past months, through continuous meetings with major Chinese companies And complete the funding model through the Iraq-China Joint Reconstruction Fund. ”

Al-Hunain said that “the visit will be signed during the visit major contracts and agreements in the sectors of industry and agriculture, building schools, hospitals, housing, roads, trains and bridges,” returned the visit “falls within the philosophy of the Prime Minister in opening up to the world, and that Iraq is a friend of all, and an influential factor in the world, It is a bridge between all countries of the world. ”

He stressed that “China will not be the last in this deal, there is a large trend towards the United States of America to sign major contracts ready with US companies, in addition to Iraq opened its doors to its neighbors to work and invest in it, and top of these countries Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey and Qatar Egypt and the rest of the Gulf states. ” is over,15700021,15700043,15700186,15700191,15700253,15700256,15700259&usg=ALkJrhgAM8lx9wSOhBfnhRIsohetHpFqOw

The Cabinet issues several important decisions

Release date:: 9/19/17 18:01

BAGHDAD: The Council of Ministers held its regular session on Tuesday under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, and discussed many issues prepared for his agenda and issued the necessary decisions on them.

The Cabinet also discussed a number of developments, including the resignation of Health Minister Alaa Abdel-Saheb Al-Alwan in all its aspects and the letter of resignation and the reasons for his resignation.

The Cabinet expressed its solidarity with the Minister of Health and his support for the position of the Prime Minister in his reply letter not to accept resignation and grant the Minister of Health leave, stressing “the need to provide the right environment for his return and the success of the work of all ministers, and their keenness to cooperate with the legislative authority and promote the common pursuit The state and the people according to the law and the rules. ”

The Council of Ministers issued the following decisions:

First: Approval of the amendment of paragraph (2) of the Council of Ministers Resolution No. (20) for the year 2018 to read as follows: – Collect all the amounts owed by those covered by the description mentioned in paragraph (1), which was deleted after the issuance of the letter of the Secretariat of the Council of Ministers No. 37161 dated By 1/12/2015 according to the provisions of the Government Debt Collection Law No. (56) of 1977 as amended.

Second: Approving the recommendation of the Ministerial Council of Energy regarding the activation of paragraph (4) of the provisions of Article (11) in the third chapter of the Law of Public Companies (22) for the year 1997 amended to be the share of the public treasury (45%) only and the share of the government partner (55%) of the net. Profit and all seasons of the year to be distributed to the percentages specified in the above article.

Third: Approved the recommendation of the Ministerial Council of Energy as follows:

1. Extension of the work window in paragraph (1) of the Council of Ministers Resolution (4) of 2019 for a period of (another six months) for the need to name the wells and the uses of the Basra Oil Company exclusively and determine the quantities required from the company above

2. Confirmation of the General Company for Iraqi Cement to obtain the certificate (API)

Fourth: On the basis of his presentation by the Ministry of Finance regarding the entitlements of the Egyptian laborers and for the purpose of proceeding with the distinguished relations between the two countries, the Council of Ministers decided:

1- Approving the treatment of bank labor dues (trusts) referred to in the letter of the Ministry of Finance in accordance with the memorandum of understanding by the concerned banks.

2 – Agreement with the Egyptian side to restore the license (work permit) of the branch of Rafidain Bank in Cairo frozen since 2005 by the Central Bank of Egypt and the restoration of all activities of the branch.

Fifth: On the basis of his presentation, the Minister of Education, an emergency agency during the meeting of the Council of Ministers, the Council of Ministers decided the following:

1 – Authorizing the Minister of Education and the power to conduct examinations for the third round of the grades ended for the intermediate and preparatory education and repeaters, not more than three lessons.

2 – Authorizing the Minister of Education and the power to collect the fees for exam services from students wishing to take the exams provided that the amounts transferred to the Ministry of Education directly.

3 – Commitment to the central admission timings adopted in the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research without waiting for the results of the third round.

Sixth: Approving the draft law of the Council of Reconstruction and referring it to the House of Representatives based on the provisions of Articles 61 / clause I and 80 / clause II of the Constitution, taking into consideration the remarks referred to by the Secretary General of the Council of Ministers. is over,15700021,15700043,15700186,15700191,15700253,15700256,15700259&usg=ALkJrhjdr74ZhVUicXJXopmuGoaq2_5tlA

Oil Minister: We are committed to the principles of international transparency and the distribution of wealth to the people

Release date:: 9/19/17 14:39

Deputy Prime Minister for Energy and Oil Minister Thamir Abbas Ghadhban, on Tuesday, Iraq’s full commitment to the optimal investment of national wealth in accordance with the principles and standards of sound management.

Oil Minister Thamer Abbas al-Ghadhban said during his presidency of the regular meeting of the Board of Trustees of Transparency Industries, 67th session, in a statement received by the Euphrates News Agency, that the ministry is keen to disclose monthly through the media, newspapers and official websites Oil and export outlets and financial revenues achieved, as well as the announcement of the names of international companies and nationalities, which are contracted in the marketing of crude oil, in addition to disclosing the rates of production and consumption and the average price of a barrel through the official website of the ministry.

Ghadhban added that “the government and the ministry support all events and activities aimed at enhancing the confidence of the international community and international organizations concerned with the ministry and government institutions responsible for the management of oil activity in the country.”

Ghadhban praised the role of the oil formations in cooperation, praising the role of civil society organizations in following up the reports and activities related to the oil sector in order to achieve our goals in reaching the most accurate international standards in this context.

He called for “continued cooperation between the ministries and institutions concerned with international organizations, and that cooperation is ideal to achieve the desired results,” stressing “the fair distribution of wealth to the Iraqi people of all spectrums and components.”

“During the meeting, the draft annual report of the EIT for 2017 was discussed in the presence of the international auditor,” the statement said.,15700021,15700043,15700186,15700191,15700253,15700256,15700259&usg=ALkJrhjmjYfbWnXORb-fFp2Akfk1vsXryw

Postpone the visit of the Kurdish delegation to Baghdad

 Policy 2019/09/17 10:32  224 Editor: aab    

Baghdad today – special

A delegation from the Kurdistan Regional Government has postponed a visit to Baghdad, scheduled to take place today.

The source said in an interview with (Baghdad today), “The visit of the delegation of the Kurdistan region, headed by the Minister of Planning Dara Rashid, which was scheduled to be held today to Baghdad, was postponed.”

He added that “the postponement was due to the visit of two delegations to the Kurdistan region of Baghdad, represented by President of the Republic Barham Saleh and Parliament Speaker Mohammed Halbousi,” noting that “the visit of the delegations of Baghdad come to discuss the resolution of outstanding issues and files.”

The representative of the Kurdistan Regional Government in the Kurdish parliament Fares Issa, said that a delegation from the Kurdistan Regional Government will start a visit to Baghdad on Tuesday, September 17 to discuss a number of files, including the general census of the country.

It was decided to visit the delegation to Baghdad in a meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Kurdistan region on September 11, and reviewed the latest developments with the federal government.

In the same context, informed source, Tuesday, September 17, 2019, that the Presidents of the Republic, Barham Saleh, and the House of Representatives, Mohammed Halbousi, will visit Erbil today, at the head of a high-level delegation.

The source told (Baghdad today) that “a delegation composed of the President of the Republic Barham Saleh, the House of Representatives Mohammed Halbousi, and the Minister of Finance, Fuad Hussein, will visit Erbil today at 3 pm.”

He pointed out that the visit comes “to discuss with the parties and the government of the region on finding solutions to the contentious points between Baghdad and Erbil.”

It was scheduled to visit the Kurdish delegation to Baghdad, to resolve the subject of the 2020 budget, which wants the region to return its share to 17% in return for its commitment to transfer funds 250 thousand barrels per day to the account of SOMO, as well as the subject of Kirkuk and other outstanding files.,15700021,15700043,15700186,15700191,15700253,15700256,15700259&usg=ALkJrhgDyvRQouRdd52o09R9OsJGWfYelg

Alak: Central Bank reserves exceed international standards


Economy News _ Baghdad

The Governor of the Central Bank of Iraq, Ali Alaq, Tuesday, that the amount of the budget deficit for 2020 is not yet proven as indicated by the Ministry of Finance, and what is circulating is just hypothetical figures and not yet settled, indicating that the upper limit of the deficit must be compatible with The new financial management law, stressing at the same time that the central bank reserves of foreign currency comfortable and well beyond international standards, and that the law prohibits the use of this reserve to lend to the government to fill the budget deficit, but it is used to stabilize the exchange rate and the strength of the local currency
“Our foreign currency reserves are comfortable, good and within international standards,” Allaq said in an interview with “Al-Sabah” newspaper and seen by Al-Iqtisadiah news on the sidelines of his participation in the 43rd session of the Board of Governors of Central Banks and Arab Monetary Institutions held on Sunday in Cairo. Standard ratios are higher, but according to the law they are not to cover the deficit but are a cover for the local currency. The Pile directly or indirectly, but is to maintain the value of the dinar against the dollar. ”
And the relationship, that “the stability of the exchange rate is a central objective of the Central Bank and seeks to achieve by all means, and depends mainly on the economic performance of Iraq, the stronger the economy was to maintain the exchange rate stronger, and our economy is subject to fluctuations in oil prices, which is a resource The basis for the country, which is also the basis for the foreign currency, so careful management of reserves in order to achieve stability is important, where there can be a balance between the supply and demand of foreign currency, and when supply disrupts affect the exchange rate, and the reserve we have so far is able to The application covers And therefore keeps the price under control. ”
Regarding slackness in government jobs, Al-Allaq said: “The government apparatus has reached more than saturation, and it does not add economic value; rather, in its expenses it represents a great challenge to the public budget and reduces the resources that can go to employ others and achieve more job opportunities through real projects. The basic solution to the issue of unemployment is the employment of the real sectors, namely, industrial, agricultural, tourism, etc., which is the basis in moving economic rings, so there must be a focus on moving these economic sectors by changing the economic model that exists in Iraq today, the model now is that “It comes from oil, and it pumps the bulk of it in the form of salaries. These salaries turn into demand for imported goods and commodities, so our revenues go to build the economies of other countries instead of moving the economic situation.”
The Governor of the Central Bank, that “can not be laid off people, but the money taken as salaries can be invested inside Iraq through the expansion of the real sector and this will occupy other people, and depends on coordination in trade, investment, tax and customs policies to harmonize with each other to move the situation internally”.
As for the Cairo meeting, Al-Allaq said: “These meetings are regular and periodic, and since Iraq is a member of the Arab Monetary Fund, it is attending these meetings, where the meetings of the Council are a review of all developments that take place in the financial, monetary and economic matters in the Arab world, especially in the circumstances facing Major challenges in the economic aspects Increasing challenges and risks related to these aspects, which we provide insights and perceptions and how our countries can face these challenges, and analyze their effects and impact on our economies. 
He added, “We will also discuss at the meeting the functions of central banks in terms of technologies and their effects, which are fast and successive, especially with regard to the subject of currency and its use, which has evolved towards digital and virtual, and in this context also talk about the objectives that are evolving functions of central banks quickly to achieve financial stability in Under the circumstances, and to achieve prudential control for central banks towards banking institutions and financial institutions, “he said:” Another goal that we have given priority in this meeting; we organized a special workshop on the expansion of financial inclusion, i.e. L Banking services to as many different citizens and segments as possible and achieve a lot of services quickly. ”
On the relationship between the Central Bank of Iraq and its Egyptian counterpart, Al-Allaq stressed that it is “very good and continuous, and we have many areas of cooperation, and we consider the Central Bank of Egypt very close ally, we have communication and consultation and the degree of high relationship and we need them in building our capabilities and in training and consultation.”
Regarding the reopening of Rafidain Bank in Egypt, Al-Allaq said: “It is an important subject and we have been following it for a long time.


Views: 35   Date Added: 17/09/2019

Gold prices stabilize as markets look ahead to US central bank meeting

Arabic and International

Economy News _ Baghdad

Gold prices stabilized on Tuesday as most traders were reluctant to form market positions ahead of an expected rate cut by the US Federal Reserve later this week.

Spot gold was little changed at $ 1498.80 an ounce by 0535 GMT, having risen as much as 1 percent in the previous session as tensions in the Middle East escalated.

Gold futures in the United States rose 0.4 percent to $ 1505.6 an ounce.

Meanwhile, currencies of oil-exporting countries have held together, while the dollar has been supported as oil prices have been boosted by attacks on two Saudi oil facilities and the threat of military action in the region, while stocks have come under pressure.

US President Donald Trump said on Monday Iran appeared to be responsible for the attacks but stressed he did not want war.

On the other precious metals, silver settled at $ 17.85 an ounce.

Platinum rose 0.1 percent to $ 937.64 an ounce, while palladium settled at $ 1605.07 after touching a record high of $ 1626.81 in the previous session.