Deal with Iraq easy if salaries paid: Kurdish leader
Iran Press TV
Tue Feb 16, 2016 6:9PM
The deputy prime minister of Iraqi Kurdistan says a political and economic deal with the central government in Baghdad could easily be reached if the federal government agrees to pay employees in the semi-autonomous region.
'If Baghdad pays the full salaries of people who receive salaries from the government in the Kurdistan region, including the Peshmerga [armed forces], we can easily and naturally agree with it,' Qubad Talabani said on social media on Tuesday.
Talabani's comments on his official Facebook page were published a day after Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced that Baghdad would pay the salaries of the cash-strapped Iraqi Kurdistan's employees if the semi-autonomous region stopped its independent exports of oil.
'Give us the oil and I will give every employee in Kurdistan [his or her due] salary,' Abadi said on Monday in an interview with al-Iraqiya TV.
Baghdad cut the Kurdistan Regional Government's federal budget in 2014 after the Kurds independently laid their own oil pipeline for exports to Turkey, Iraq's neighboring country to the north.
The federal government regards the Kurdish region's independent crude exports to Turkey as illegal.
Abadi, who had previously estimated that Kurdistan exports over 600,000 barrels of crude per day, said this is equal to the region's share of the federal budget.
The KRG authorities have failed to pay the salaries of public servants working in the region since September 2015.
KRG public employees have held demonstrations to express their outrage at unpaid salaries and wage cuts.
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