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Protests put Baghdad-Erbil oil and budget talks on ice

As anti-government demonstrations alter Iraq's political landscape, the KRG has been forced to temper its ambitions to negotiate a durable financial relationship with Baghdad.
Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abd al-Mahdi (right) meets with Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Masrour Barzani in Baghdad on July 16, 2019. (Source: KRG media office)

ERBIL - Leaders in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) are fundamentally recalibrating their strategy for engaging with the federal government as a massive protest movement causes upheaval in Baghdad politics.

As recently as September, the KRG had been pursuing negotiations to holistically address more than a decade of disputes over oil rights and revenue sharing. Now, Kurdish leaders fear they cannot even strike a 2020 budget deal, raising the risks that Baghdad could stop making monthly financial transfers that are essential to the KRG's solvency.

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