Live: Federal cabinet agrees further monthly loans for Kurdistan Region to pay salaries

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Rudaw, which is bankrolled by KRG President Nechirvan Barzani, highlights how the PM thanked the president directly in his statement. The two cousins are intra-party rivals and the president, who was PM before being pushed out by the current incumbent, has seen his power fall precipitously within the party and the wider region. 

PM calls PM to give thanks


A vehicle in the Sardasht subdistrict near Shingal was reportedly targeted by a suspected Turkish drone last night, according to Rojnews, a media outlet affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Li nêzî wargeha Serdeşt a Şengalê wesayîtek hate bombebaran kirin. gorî agahiyên ketine destê ajansa me de, di saetên pişt
Rojnews.News - Kurmancî
There were some reports last week that the Kurdistan delegation had suggested amending the budget bill so that Kurdistan gets a fixed amount per month while keeping its locally generated revenues.

Today, Rudaw's parliamentary lobby reporter in Baghdad appears to confirm those reports. That would explain the need to amend the budget law. 
As far as Iraqi political can-kicking goes, this one takes the biscuit.

High fives all round for achieving a three month rest before all this almost certainly starts over again.

Full statement by KRG PM Masrour Barzani

"I am pleased to announce that our efforts to defend the rights of the people of the Kurdistan Region and our agreement with Prime Minister Mohamed Shia Sudani have been successful. This has been made possible through the resilience of the Kurdistani people.

This new deal guarantees that our citizens will receive their salaries in full and on time. Thank you to the resilient Kurdistanis for your continued patience and faith in your government.

I thank President Masoud Barzani for his support and guidance in overcoming the obstacles, and I also thank the role and support of the President of the Kurdistan Region, Kak Nechirvan, in assisting and facilitating negotiations with the federal government.

I extend my gratitude to the Iraqi political parties who supported us, as well as to the political parties of the Kurdistan Region and the Kurdistani factions in the federal parliament who unanimously supported and agreed to secure the rights of the people of the Kurdistan Region to receive their rightful payments.

I also want to express my appreciation to the KRG delegation for their continuous and tireless efforts and their commitment to this solemn responsibility in fulfilling this difficult duty and succeeding.

We will continue to serve our beloved citizens and prevent any targeted efforts to undermine the stability of the Kurdistan Region."

Apparently, it's a short-term bridging loan until 'the federal budget law' is amended. 
No further info yet on this. The need to 'amend' the budget in order to pay Kurdistan's share of it wasn't on our bingo card for today.

Just in: The Iraqi cabinet has agreed on three 700b IQD monthly loans to the KRG 

As in the previous payments, these aren't Kurdistan's budget share but are instead loans to cover salaries. 

Explosion in northwest Sulaymaniyah home

There's been an explosion in a house located in the Kani Kurda neighborhood of northwest Sulaymaniyah City on Sunday, according to local police. 

The house is owned by a retired Peshmerga officer, says Esta News. While the cause of the explosion is still unclear, emergency services and security forces are currently at the scene.

Unofficial reports indicate that the explosion resulted in one fatality.

Further details are awaited as investigations are ongoing.


Dizayee: newfound optimism on budget payments

Bloomberg has a new article up featuring quotes from Safeen Dizayee, the head of of the KRG's foreign relations department, about the level of optimism following last Thursday's discussions with Baghdad on the ongoing oil dispute. While the talks have yet to yield a concrete resolution, Dizayee noted a sense of optimism that was absent before.

The dispute centers around the closure of a twin oil pipeline to Turkey's Mediterranean oil terminal of Ceyhan, following a $1.5 billion arbitration fine levied against Iraq. This move has had a significant financial impact, with nearly $5 billion in losses for the KRG. These losses have further strained the KRG's ability to pay approximately 700,000 workers and an additional 500,000 people who rely on social aid from the government.

According to Dizayee, the talks have brought forth "two ideas" that could potentially resolve the stalemate, although he did not provide further details. According to Bloomberg, the main points of contention appear to be around governance and control. Baghdad wants its oil marketing company, SOMO, to have a role in overseeing oil sales from the region. This is a move that the KRG is not keen on, as it would signify a shift toward federal control and away from their semi-autonomous status. Though this appeared to have been resolved somewhat already in the immediate aftermath of the pipeline closing.

Another sticking point is how to manage the contracts that the KRG has previously signed with various oil companies. As it stands, the closure of the pipeline has forced these companies to reduce their operations significantly, impacting both their bottom line and the overall economic activity in the region.

While an agreement between the KRG and Baghdad remains elusive, Dizayee mentioned an "air of optimism" following the talks. Both parties seem to be more willing to find common ground than before, but as Dizayee puts it, "the proof is in the pudding."


Afternoon briefing

Crunch time for the Kurdistan Region as the federal cabinet meets to discuss PM Masrour Barzani's whistle-stop tour of the Iraqi political establishment last week.

It was a who's who of political elites in baghdad as Barzani and his Deputy Qubad Talabani put differences aside to seek a resolution to the Kurdistan Region's fiscal crunch.

It was in those very same federal cabinet meetings that politicians and ministers close to Iran would hamper attempts to pay the Kurdistan Region's share of the budget. On Thursday, Masrour Barzani meet with the leaders of every single one of those parties who have representation in the cabinet. It was also smiles and platitudes. 

And now we wait.