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Iraqi Kurdish negotiators in Baghdad for US-brokered talks

The decline in crude prices has caused an economic crisis for Baghdad and Erbil [AFP]

Date of publication: 31 January, 2016

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Delegations from Iraq and Kurdistan have agreed to hold a new round of US-brokered talks to discuss and solve their disputes, according to Kurdish sources.

A Kurdish delegation arrived in Baghdad on Sunday to meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar Abadi for a new round of talks.

According to Kurdish sources, US officials have convinced politicians in Baghdad and Erbil to resume talks and solve their disputes.

However, several MPs have already predicted failure for the upcoming talks, especially since one of the main subjects of dispute is Kurdistan's share of Iraq's budget, which is already suffering from deficit.

Kurdish MP Tarek Kurdi told reporters that the main topics to be discussed in the new talks include Kurdistan’s share of the budget and supporting the Kurdish Peshmerga forces, which are recognised by the constitution as part of Iraq's defence system.

According to other MPs, the delegations from Baghdad and Erbil will also discuss Kurdistan's share of Iraq's foreign loans, as well as the issue of the Mosul Dam.

The recent decline in crude prices has caused an economic crisis for both Baghdad and Erbil, with this year's budget deficit reaching more than $20 billion.

As a result, Kurdish authorities are unable to pay employee salaries, as they mainly depended on oil revenues.

Yet it seems the dispute over oil will be excluded from the talks, as the minister of natural resources is not part of the Kurdish delegation, neither are any military or security officials, which indicates that military issues will also be excluded.

Meanwhile, Kurdish MP Najiba Najib, member of the parliament's financial committee, told reporters that it was in the interest of the Iraqi government to support Erbil in case of receiving foreign loans.

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