Progress on Kurdistan budget deal, but obstacles remain

Baghdad approves temporary funding deal but unresolved oil issues hang over a potential budget law amendment to unlock more reliable financial transfers.
Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani (center left) meets with Massoud Barzani (center right), the head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), as well as KRG President Nechirvan Barzani (fourth from right) and KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani (third from right), in Erbil on Nov. 9, 2023. (Photo credit: Iraqi Prime Minister's Office)

SULAIMANIYA - The Iraqi Cabinet on Sunday approved a new transfer of 619 billion Iraqi dinars ($476 million) to the Kurdistan region — an apparent breakthrough that promises temporary financial relief for Erbil and could signal growing political support for amending the national budget law to ease future transfers.

The financial picture is still uncertain, however, in large part because there is no universally agreed framework for paying international oil companies (IOCs) operating under contracts with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). Leaders in Baghdad have held talks with IOC representatives in recent weeks but several major issues remain unresolved.

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