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Iraq Kurds Accept PM’s Oil for Salaries Deal

Iraq Kurds Accept PM’s Oil for Salaries Deal

Baghdad, London-The Kurdistan government said it accepted the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s proposal of the Iraqi federal government paying all the salaries of the 1,400,000 employees in Kurdistan after only one day of offering it.

Their salaries amount to 890 billion Iraqi dinars per month, Erbil’s government said in an online statement, or more than $747 million at the 1,190 dinars per dollar exchange rate used by Iraqi banks.

In exchange, the region would hand over all of its oil productions to the federal government of Iraq, as clearly stated in the proposal. The statement stressed the importance of continuous dialogue with the government in Baghdad for implementing legal obligations based on Iraqis’ common interests.

Iraqi Kurdistan has been independently exporting and selling crude from northern territory it controls via Turkey since a deal with Baghdad on oil and revenue-sharing collapsed last year. However, both Kurdistan and Baghdad are facing a financial crisis due to plunging oil prices.

Despite agreeing on the proposal, the Ministry of Oil in Iraq has declared that it was not informed about it. The ministry spokesman, Assem Jihad, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the ministry didn’t know about what was announced between Baghdad and Erbil.

On the other hand, news has spread in Baghdad yesterday saying that the Popular Mobilization Forces militias are intending to demobilize about 30 percent of the people belonging to them due to the financial crisis hitting Iraq in general and PMF in particular.

The announcement of the Popular Mobilization Forces comes weeks before the scheduled date for the beginning of liberating Mosul’s city from ISIS.

On Wednesday, the Iraqi Ministry of Defense said it is still preparing for the liberating operation. Moreover, officers from the PMF confirmed that these demobilization operations will have no effect on the military operations in the country.