Iraqi Kurd ministers, MPs to end boycotts

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Iraqi Kurdish ministers and MPs will end boycotts of parliament and the cabinet begun last month, the prime minister of the autonomous Kurdistan region said on Wednesday.

A meeting that included Kurdish political parties “decided to return the Kurdish ministers and representatives to Baghdad... and participate in sessions of the Iraqi cabinet and parliament,” Nechirvan Barzani told a news conference in Arbil.

The boycotts began in March after Kurds objected that the new federal budget did not allocate enough money to pay foreign oil companies working in the region.

Kurdistan has signed oil contracts with various foreign firms without the approval of Baghdad, and complains that the federal government has not paid money owed to them.

For its part, Baghdad regards as illegal all contracts not made by the federal government.

Barzani’s announcement came a day after he met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in Baghdad.

In addition to the oil deals, Kurdistan and Baghdad are at odds over issues including a swathe of territory in northern Iraq that the region wants to incorporate over Baghdad’s strong objections, and power-sharing.

Kurdish ministers have been boycotting cabinet meetings since early March over disagreements about the federal budget.


In April, Maliki named temporary replacements for the country’s foreign and trade ministers.

Deputy Prime Minister Hussein al-Shahristani to temporarily replace Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, while Justice Minister Hassan al-Shammari is to take charge from Trade Minister Khayrullah Hassan Babaker, the official said on condition of anonymity.

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