Baghdad, Erbil Make Progress in Salary Negotiations

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammad Shia al-Sudani and Prime Minister of the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government, Masrour Barzani, during their meeting in Baghdad on Thursday (Media Office of the Iraqi Prime Minister)
Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammad Shia al-Sudani and Prime Minister of the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government, Masrour Barzani, during their meeting in Baghdad on Thursday (Media Office of the Iraqi Prime Minister)
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Baghdad, Erbil Make Progress in Salary Negotiations

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammad Shia al-Sudani and Prime Minister of the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government, Masrour Barzani, during their meeting in Baghdad on Thursday (Media Office of the Iraqi Prime Minister)
Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammad Shia al-Sudani and Prime Minister of the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government, Masrour Barzani, during their meeting in Baghdad on Thursday (Media Office of the Iraqi Prime Minister)

The prime minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq, Masrour Barzani, announced on Friday that his government had submitted two proposals to the federal government regarding the salaries of the region’s employees.

Speaking during a press conference at the end of his talks in Baghdad on Thursday with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammad Shia al-Sudani, Barzani said: “The delegation of the Kurdistan Regional Government came to Baghdad to defend the constitutional rights of the people of Kurdistan. We are reaching along with the federal government several solutions for current problems.”

While the statements issued by the Iraqi officials, with whom the Kurdish delegation held negotiations, confirmed that serious solutions would be reached to address the outstanding issues, attention is turning to the decisions that would be taken by the Federal Council of Ministers on Sunday, to support the negotiations that took place between the two sides.

The main differences revolve around oil, the budget, and employees’ salaries.

An agreement on the oil share seems difficult as a result of the divergent vision of the two parties regarding how to legislate the oil and gas law, which has been postponed since 2007.

Moreover, the region’s share of the general budget of the Iraqi state has been disputed since the adoption of the permanent Iraqi constitution in 2005, due to the lack of a population census.

As for the salary crisis, it emerged in 2014 when the then federal government refrained from handing over the salaries of the region’s employees unless the regional government paid the oil revenues sourced from within the regional territory.

Meanwhile, Turkish Energy Minister Alparslan Bayraktar announced on Friday that inspection of the oil pipeline from the Kurdistan region to the port of Ceyhan had been completed.

Türkiye has begun maintenance work on the pipeline that passes through a seismically active area, which Ankara says was damaged by floods resulting from the devastating earthquake that struck the southern region on February 6.

The Iraqi Kurdistan government has lost about $4 billion since oil flows to the Turkish port of Ceyhan via the pipeline stopped.



Sudan's RSF Agrees with UN on Steps to Ease Aid Delivery

Sudanese farmers plow a field on the outskirts of Sudan's eastern city of Gedaref on July 18, 2024. (Photo by AFP)
Sudanese farmers plow a field on the outskirts of Sudan's eastern city of Gedaref on July 18, 2024. (Photo by AFP)
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Sudan's RSF Agrees with UN on Steps to Ease Aid Delivery

Sudanese farmers plow a field on the outskirts of Sudan's eastern city of Gedaref on July 18, 2024. (Photo by AFP)
Sudanese farmers plow a field on the outskirts of Sudan's eastern city of Gedaref on July 18, 2024. (Photo by AFP)

Sudan's Rapid Support Forces agreed with the United Nations on some steps to ease aid delivery in areas under its control, a member of the RSF told Reuters on Thursday.

The Sudanese army has not reached any understandings on aid delivers with the RSF, he added. It is unclear if these steps could be implemented without the army's participation.

Meanwhile, a key supply route into Sudan's Darfur region, deemed at risk of famine by a global monitor, has been cut off due to heavy rains, a World Food Program official told Reuters on Thursday.
The UN agency has described Sudan as the world's biggest hunger crisis, with the western Darfur region most at risk as Sudan's 15-month civil war that has displaced millions and sparked ethnic violence grinds on.
WFP's Country Director Eddie Rowe said thousands of tons of aid are stranded at the Tina crossing on the Chad border, prompting the body to reopen talks with the army-aligned government to open an alternative, all-weather crossing further south called Adre.
"You have these huge rivers. As I speak now, our convoy, which is supposed to move over 2000 metric tons is stranded," he told Reuters from Port Sudan. Asked on the status of the talks that resumed this week, he said: "It's 50/50.”
WFP is now seeking clearances to move a large 70-truck convoy via a little-used, over 1000 kilometer route from Port Sudan to Darfur which Rowe said will involve crossing the battle lines of both the Sudan Armed Forces, the Rapid Support Forces and various militias.
He added that this mostly desert route has worked in the past but outside of the rainy season and that the last journey took weeks and was "fraught with a lot of challenges.”
In a separate interview, Mona Rishmawi, a member of the UN Fact-Finding Mission on Sudan, told Reuters that she had met Darfur refugees in Chad who told her stories of escaping with virtually no water and eating grass along the route. "There's no doubt that people are starving," she said.