Agreement close on government formation, Region’s presidency, and Kirkuk, say KDP, PUK

Justice ministry still point of disagreement
News conference between negotiating delegations from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) in Sulaimani on Friday, February 15, 2018. (Photo Credit: NRT Digital Media)

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SULAIMANI – The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) met in Sulaimani on Friday (February 15) and appear close to sealing an agreement that would pave the way to forming a new government.

KDP spokesperson Mahmoud Muhammad said during a press conference following the meeting that the parties had resolved most of their disagreements during the talks.

“The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan will make the final decision on the draft of the agreement tomorrow, which includes provisions regarding the formation of the government, the Kurdistan presidency, and the issue of Kirkuk,” Muhammad said.

PUK spokesperson Sadi Ahmad Pira said that there was still disagreement over the federal justice ministry, but that high-level talks would continue in an effort to resolve that issue.

“The Kirkuk governor will be selected through consultations and with the consent of all the other ethnicities,” Saadi Ahmad Pira added.

This week, a bipartisan committee wrote a draft agreement that details the party's cooperation over the next four years. It has yet to be signed, but Friday's meeting appeared to signal that the parties were close to doing so.

The agreement stipulates that the government will accelerate the establishment of an oil and natural gas revenue fund in accordance with laws already adopted by parliament.

The KDP, the PUK, and the other parities who decide to the join the government will  have representation and protocol rights in the department of foreign relations, the Kurdistan Regional Government's offices in foreign capitals, and during official ceremonies.

In terms of relations between the Kurdistan Region and Baghdad, the agreement says that both sides will adopt the same position with regard to constitutional rights, the implementation of federal system principles, and solving issues related to the disputed areas, oil, natural gas, the budget, and the Peshmerga.

“A high-level committee between both sides will be formed to support the Kurdistan Regional Government's efforts to normalize the situation in Kirkuk and other Kurdistan areas outside the Kurdistan Region and to implement Article 140,” the agreement also said.

The parties have scheduled a parliamentary session for Monday.

(NRT Digital Media)