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The Englishman

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  1. Barzani: If we receive independence guarantee as 'alternative,' we celebrate on Sep. 25 Baxtiyar Goran | An hour ago Share share The Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani in Soran, Erbil Province, Kurdistan Region, Sep. 19, 2017. (Photo: Kurdistan 24) ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The President of the Kurdistan Region on Tuesday said Kurdish officials made all possible attempts to become partners in Iraq without reaching a solution. In a speech where he addressed thousands in Erbil’s Soran city, Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani said the Kurds are still waiting for a written alternative guaranteeing independence before they postpone the referendum. “If we receive an alternative in the coming days by the international community that guarantees Kurdistan’s independence, we will postpone the referendum and celebrate on Sep. 25,” President Barzani stated. “And, if we do not receive it, we will proceed with holding the referendum,” the President added. Regarding an alternative plan discussed by the international community, President Barzani emphasized Erbil and Baghdad were the ones who had to resolve their issues and agree on a guarantee for Kurdistan’s independence. “If the United States, European Union, and the United Nations guarantee the implementation of such an agreement then it will replace the referendum,” the President noted. President Barzani added that the referendum was an opportunity for the people of the Kurdistan Region to determine their future, adding it would be followed by negotiations with Iraq to resolve differences. President Barzani also reiterated that the partnership with Baghdad and Kurdistan had failed and said the people of the Region want independence. Referring to the borders of Kurdistan and Kurdish areas outside of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) administration, President Barzani said the referendum would not define the borders as further negotiations would follow the vote. “We will engage in serious dialogue with Baghdad after the referendum,” the President concluded.
  2. Kurdistan Barzani gives Baghdad ultimatum: Forge agreement in 3 days or vote proceeds By Rudaw 26 minutes ago Kurdish Resident Masoud Barzani addresses a rally for independence of Kurdistan in Soran on September 19, 2017. Photo: Rudaw TV SORAN, Kurdistan Region – Kurdistan President Masoud Barzani gave Baghdad three days to reach an agreement with Erbil, backed by the international community, providing an alternative to the referendum that will eventually lead to “independence.” Speaking at a rally for independence in Soran on Tuesday, Barzani said their problem is not with the international community, which has offered to mediate between the regional and central governments, but “We have to reach an agreement with Baghdad.” What can take the place of the referendum is “a bilateral agreement between Erbil and Baghdad, if the agreement materialized in a way that could take the place of the referendum. And then the international community, the US, Europe, backs that agreement and give guarantees that this agreement will be implemented,” said Barzani. “But I will be honest with you, Baghdad has not reached that level yet,” he added, giving the central government a deadline of “two to three days” to reach such an agreement. If no viable alternative is offered, “it is impossible to postpone the referendum,” Barzani said. He stressed that the purpose of the September 25 referendum “is to tell the world that we want independence.” So any alternative must achieve the same objective. He said that if Baghdad agrees to provide an alternative, then the people of Kurdistan will “hold a celebration on September 25.” This is a developing story.
  3. Iraqi Kurdistan, Baghdad to discuss referendum Speaking to Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) Kurdistan's envoy to Iran, Nazem Dabaq, also quoted foreign relations minister for the Iraq's Kurdistan regional government Falah Mustafa that the regional government expects to receive a new suggestion on postponing the independence referendum. The referendum is approved by Iraqi Kurdistan parliament to be held on September 25 despite harsh oppositions from the federal governement in Baghdad, and warnings from neighboring countries on the repercussions. Iraq's parliament in a resolution has rejected the decision by Kurdish local authorities. The oil-rich Kurdistan region in north of Iraq has a 4.7-million-people population.
  4. KRG referendum won't impact Iraqi oil production, says minister Next week's poll a "political" issue says Jabar Al Luaibi at UAE conference LeAnne Graves September 19, 2017 Updated: September 19, 2017 04:54 PM Minister of Oil for Iraq Jabar Al Luaibi speaking at the Gulf Intelligence Energy Markets Forum in Fujairah. Antonie Robertson / The National Kurdistan’s independence referendum won’t impact Iraq’s oil production, but Baghdad will guard its national interest, Iraq’s oil minister Jabar Al Luaibi said on Tuesday. “There is no relation between the Kurd referendum and the production of Iraq Jabar Al Luiebi said on the sidelines of the Energy Markets Forum in Fujairah. The issue is “political,” he said. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) will hold a referendum on September 25. Iraqi Prime Minister called on the region’s government to suspend the poll, saying it “threatens Iraq’s national security.” The United Nations, Turkey, Iran and the US have all urged the KRG to resolve issues with Baghdad via negotiations rather than secession. “We are interested in guarding our interest as a country,” said Mr Al Lueibi. “We hope the Kurds will change for the interest of Kurdistan as well as Iraq and the region.” But Mr Al Lueibi said that the Iraqi government was taking steps not to magnify areas of difference with the KRG government, especially the treatment of oil fields in the Kirkuk region. “We hope that things will be settled in a wise political decision,” he said. If it goes ahead, the referendum is expected to have a minimal impact on the oil prices. "The immediate impact of the referendum on the market will likely be marginal given "The global market is currently well supplied and we do not expect any processes to initiate the secession of Kurdistan following the vote," said BMI Research yesterday. "According to our estimates, less than 12 per cent of Iraq's oil output, around 500,000 barrels per day is currently produced in the Kurdistan region. The KRG in recent weeks has resolved a series of its disputes with oil and gas firms ahead of next week’s vote. The authority agreed to pay US$1 billion and a further $1.3bn in future receivables to the Peal Petroleum consortium, led by the UAE’s Dana Gas, bringing to an end a dispute over payments launched in 2013. Norwegian firms Genel Energy and DNO also reached a settlement agreement with the KRG in August over outstanding payments owed from 2014/15. Meanwhile, Mr Al Lueibi said that some oil producers have raised the prospect of deepening production cuts by a further 1 per cent to further boost prices. “There are some thoughts and ideas, but no firm decision has been taken,” he said. “The dynamo of the decision is the oil market, the prices and the stability of it.” Mr Al Lueibi said that Iraq has spent around 30-40 per cent of its oil revenues on its fight against ISIL. “The cost was high and we paid the price,” he said.
  5. KRG and Rosneft Deal on Construction of Natural Gas Pipeline, Exports Expected in 2020 Erbil, Kurdistan Region – Iraq (mnr.krg.org) – The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Russia’s oil major Rosneft have decided to extend the scope of the previously signed Investment Agreement to include the construction of a natural gas pipeline to supply power plants and factories in the Kurdistan Region and provide significant volumes of natural gas for export to international markets such as Turkey and the European Union. It is expected that the agreement will be finalized by the end of 2017 and Rosneft will fund and build the gas pipeline on a BOOT basis (build-own-operate-transfer) and long-term tariff payments. The capacity of the gas pipeline is expected to be up to 30 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas per year, equivalent to 6 percent of Europe’s total gas demand. The pipeline will be built by 2019 for domestic use and supply, and gas exports are expected to begin in 2020. The gas pipeline plans are part of a series of agreements signed by the KRG and Rosneft in St. Petersburg in June 2017, to increase investment in the KRG’s oil and gas infrastructure. Rosneft and the KRG are close to finalizing the financing for expanding the capacity of the Kurdistan Region’s crude oil pipeline, which supplies export to the port of Ceyhan in Turkey. This will also be on a long-term tariff arrangement. The energy agreements also include cooperation in the entire hydrocarbons production chain, from exploration and production to commerce and logistics, and will help the Kurdistan Region to further develop its oil and gas industry. Dr. Ashti Hawrami, the KRG’s Minister of Natural Resources, said, “The KRG’s gas pipeline agreement with Rosneft, a major international company, will speed up development of our gas sector, providing gas for our domestic needs and then export, adding a new source of income to support our economic diversification and help the reconstruction of some of the Kurdistan Region’s neighbouring areas that have been newly liberated from IS. Importantly, the pipeline will be built on a fast-track basis and accelerate delivery of export gas to the Turkish market and to the European Union. The revenue generated will benefit the people of Kurdistan and Iraq.”
  6. Russia digs into Iraqi-Kurdistan with huge gas pipeline The New Arab Russia digs into Iraqi-Kurdistan with huge gas pipeline Rosneft will help develop Iraqi-Kurdistan's gas industry [AFP] Date of publication: 18 September, 2017 Share this page: 7 Russia's Rosneft have won a $1 billion pipeline deal with the Iraqi-Kurdistan government, which will see Moscow's influence extend in Erbil just days before the Kurdish referendum. Russian energy giant Rosneft have agreed to invest in a new $1 billion pipeline in Iraqi-Kurdistan, just days before the Kurdish provinces head for referendum vote on independence. The Russian investments and past loans will be a huge boost for the Kurdistan Regional Government as Erbil looks increasingly isolated with Iraq, Turkey, Iran and Syria all strongly opposing the vote due to take place on 25 September. Erbil has been exporting oil independently of the Baghdad government since 2014, with Russian companies among the buyers. The new investments will help the cash-strapped Erbil government as it struggles with low oil prices, Reuters said. The pipeline will export 30 billion cubic metres of gas every year with the gas ready for the domestic market next year and for export in 2019. Not only will Rosneft help drive the development of Iraqi-Kurdistan's fledgling gas industry, but also provide neighbouring Turkey with desperately-needed energy supplies. Iran has warned Erbil that if Iraqi-Kurdistan votes for indepedence Tehran will rescind trade and security deals. Baghdad has also increased its rhetoric against Erbil with the referendum just a week away.
  7. SEPTEMBER 18, 2017 / 8:43 AM / UPDATED 33 MINUTES AGO Russia's Rosneft clinches gas pipeline deal with Iraq's Kurdistan Dmitry Zhdannikov 3 MIN READ REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin LONDON (Reuters) - Russian oil major Rosneft (ROSN.MM) will invest in gas pipelines in Iraq’s Kurdistan, expanding its commitment to the region ahead of its independence vote to help it become a major exporter of gas to Turkey and Europe. Kurdistan has been exporting oil independently from the central government in Baghdad since 2014 and Kremlin-controlled Rosneft joined the list of buyers this year, lending the semi-autonomous region hundreds of millions of dollars in loans guaranteed by future oil sales. Now Rosneft is widening its investments to gas by agreeing to fund a natural gas pipeline in Kurdistan, Rosneft and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) said on Monday. Two sources close to the deal said the investments would amount to more than $1 billion (735.35 million pounds). Kurdistan is holding an independence vote on Sept. 25 as it seeks to part ways from Baghdad after years of disputes over budget revenues and the sharing of oil exports. Erbil, the seat of the KRG in northern Iraq, needs money to fund the fight against Islamic state and a budget crisis caused by low oil prices. Kurdistan has relied on oil pre-finance deals to improve its fiscal position but has struggled to develop its large gas reserves, which can require more investment to develop on a longer-term scale. The arrival of Rosneft will speed up gas development, which has so far largely been driven by mid-sized companies. For Rosneft, the world’s largest publicly listed oil company by production, the deal is a major boost to its international gas ambitions. Rosneft has long sought to challenge Gazprom, Russia’s gas export monopoly, in supplying gas to Europe. For Turkey, it means the arrival of new supplies for its energy-hungry economy and the potential to become a major center for gas supplies to Europe. The pipeline’s capacity is expected to handle up to 30 billion cubic meters (bcf) of gas exports a year, in addition to supplying domestic users. Kurdistan sits on some of the largest untapped gas deposits on Europe’s doorstep. The volumes that Rosneft wants to help Kurdistan supply to export markets are big - they represent 6 percent of total European gas demand and one-sixth of current gas export volumes by Russia - by far the largest supplier of gas to Europe. The pipeline will be constructed in 2019 for Kurdish domestic use, with exports due to begin in 2020. Rosneft has previously loaned money to Kurdistan guaranteed by future oil sales and has also agreed to help the region expand its pipeline infrastructure. Kurdistan is seeking to boost oil exports to one million barrels per day (bpd) by the end of this decade from the current 0.65 million bpd. Reporting by Dmitry Zhdannikov, editing by Louise Heavens
  8. Today's developments is why the Kurds and Iraqis will not get on and stay as one, history has always shown the gulf of differences and discontent. Unfortunately Baghdad has to shoulder most of the blame, although Erbil have not helped. Shake hands and part, be good neighbours and support each other when needed, as i am fed up with false promises and talks that mean nothing when it comes to the crunch. Concentrate on your own land and the people within who have suffered so much over the years, rather than pleasing the high ranks of your governments Ladies and gentlemen the time has come to show some balls and do the RIGHT thing, the country will never move forward as one and the suffering will only continue.
  9. Iraqi Kurd president says ties with Baghdad are cut over sacking of Kirkuk governor Najmadin Karim was dismissed by parliament after backing the inclusion of oil-rich province in the upcoming Kurdish independence referendum Mina Aldroubi September 14, 2017 Updated: September 14, 2017 07:57 PM The president of Iraqi Kurdistan declared ties between Baghdad and Erbil severed on Thursday after Iraq's parliament sacked the governor of Kirkuk amid tensions over a Kurdish independence referendum. "The escalation in the Iraqi parliament has left no room for negotiations with Baghdad," Masoud Barzani said. The vote to dismiss Najmadin Karim, the Kurdish governor of oil-rich Kirkuk — claimed by both Baghdad and the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region — follows a decision by the province to take part in the referendum scheduled on September 25 that is opposed by Baghdad. The lawmakers were acting on a request on Thursday from prime minister Haider Al Abadi’s office "for a vote to dismiss the governor of Kirkuk”, said parliament spokesman Abdel Al Malik Hussieni. “The request is based on the second clause of section 8 of Article 7 of the ‘Law of governorates not incorporated into a region’, the document is a product of Iraq’s local governance programme,” Mr Al Hussieni said. Article 7 of the provincial law stipulates that the “council of representatives may remove the governor by the absolute majority of its members upon the proposal of the prime minister, if he lost integrity, abused his powers, wasted public funds, lost a condition of membership, negligence or intentional shortcomings in performing his duties”. Mr Karim has been a vocal supporter of Kurdistan’s independence and of Kirkuk's participation in the vote. The province, which is home to Iraqi Arabs, Turkmen, Christians and Kurds, announced in August that it would participate in Iraqi Kurdistan's independence referendum even though it is not part of the Kurdistan region. The president of the European Turkmen Association League, Sundus Saqi told The National that “the league welcomes this decision. Although it is late, the decision is just.” Ms Saqi said that “Kirkuk is part of Iraq and is governed from Baghdad. However, the Kurds and their governor Najmadin Karim, have been acting like it is a part of Kurdistan’s autonomous region.” “Requesting for provinces in Iraq, out of the Kurdish region, to participate in the Kurdish province’s independence referendum is illegal," Ms Saqi said, and would "lead to a civil war”. The best solution to end the dispute over the territory of Kirkuk is an “equal partnership of the three communities Turkmens, Arabs and Kurds”, she said. Earlier, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) party denounced the Iraqi parliament's sacking of Mr Karim, saying the “government wants to give a political punishment to the Kurdistan Region. The removal of Kirkuk’s governor has no reasonable explanation.” The parliament voted on Tuesday to reject the Kurdish referendum and authorised Mr Al Abadi to “take all measures” to preserve national unity. Meanwhile, Turkmen and Arab leaders in Kirkuk have filed formal petitions to the United Nations and international embassies declaring their opposition to the inclusion of Kirkuk in the Kurdish referendum. Arshad Al Salehi, an Iraqi MP and head of the Iraqi Turkmen Front said that a signed petition by the Turkmen Front in Kirkuk was sent to the United Nations as well as embassies in the region on Wednesday. “We directed our objections to international organisations because what is happening in Kirkuk is unconstitutional and is illegal,” Mr Al Salehi told The National. The non-binding referendum has faced strong opposition from central government in Baghdad as well as from Turkey, Iran and the United States. On Thursday, Turkey warned Kurdish leaders that the referendum would "have a cost". Tehran and Ankara both fear that the vote will ignite separatist aspirations among their own sizeable Kurdish minorities, while Washington has warned Erbil that the vote would distract from Iraq’s battle against ISIL. Mr Barzani held talks on the referendum on Thursday with the US envoy to the anti-ISIL campaign, Brett McGurk, US ambassador Douglas Silliman, British ambassador Frank Baker and Jan Kubis, the UN special representative and head of its assistance mission in Iraq.
  10. Iraq: Dozens die in twin attacks 2 minutes ago From the sectionMiddle East Share this with Facebook Share this with Twitter Share this with Messenger Share this with Email Share At least 50 people have been killed in two attacks in southern Iraq. In the first attack, gunmen stormed a roadside restaurant near Nasiriyah, the capital of Dhiqar province, and opened fire, a spokesman for the Iraqi interior ministry said. Shortly afterwards, a car bomb exploded at a nearby checkpoint. One report said at least four Iranians were among those killed. The so-called Islamic State group has said it carried out the attack.
  11. #ENERGY SEPTEMBER 14, 2017 / 1:29 PM / UPDATED AN HOUR AGO Iraqi parliament "has no right" to remove Kirkuk's governor - senior Kurdish official Reuters Staff 1 MIN READ ERBIL, Iraq, Sept 14 (Reuters) - Iraq’s parliament “has no right” to remove Kirkuk’s governor from office, a senior Kurdish official said on Thursday, after parliament voted him out following a request by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. “He is an elected governor of the council of Kirkuk,” said Hoshyar Zebari, a close adviser to Kurdish President Massoud Barzani. “That is the only body that can remove him.” The decision to remove the governor, Najmaddin Kareem, comes after Kirkuk - an oil-rich province claimed by both the central government in Baghdad and the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq - voted to take part in a referendum set for Sept. 25 on Kurdish independence. (Reporting by Raya Jalabi; Editing by Alison Williams)
  12. Iraqi Parliament’s Decision against Kirkuk Governor “Illegitimate”: Provincial Council Basnews English 14/09/2017 - 16:06 Kurdistan KIRKUK — Head of the Brotherhood faction at the Kirkuk provincial council has rejected Iraqi parliament’s decision to dismiss governor Najmaddin karim, calling it “illegitimate and against the constitution”. In a statement to BasNews, Mohammed Kamal, head of the faction, explained that they will not be committed to the decision as it was made by a small group within a particular faction at the parliament. “This is a political move… the Iraqi parliament was supposed to be a tribune for all the components of Iraq not only one,” he said. He believes that the Iraqi government is about to implement its plans of imposing majority decisions on minorities and further distance from the principles of political partnership. “Iraq’s illegal moves against Kurds have encouraged them to expedite the referendum on independence,” Kamal pointed out. Earlier the day, the Iraqi parliament, in absence of Kurdish MPs, held a session on Kirkuk and decided to dismiss Kurdish governor of the province from his position due to his support for Kurdistan Region’s imminent independence referendum. Kirkuk Provincial Council previously agreed to include Kirkuk in the independence vote which is set for 25th September.
  13. Iraqi Parliament Votes to Remove Kirkuk Governor Basnews English 14/09/2017 - 14:12 Iraq ERBIL — The Iraqi Parliament voted in a session on Thursday to remove the Kirkuk Governor Najmadin Karim from the office. The Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s Office sent a request to the Parliament Speaker Salim al-Jabouri on Thursday, asking the parliament for a vote to dismiss the governor of Kirkuk. Around 173 MPs from those who attended today’s parliamentary session voted to withdraw confidence from the Kirkuk governor. The Kurdish MPs, however, boycotted the session in protest of the decision. Baghdad’s move against the Kirkuk governor is in response to his support for the Kurdistan Region’s independence referendum and holding the vote in the province.
  14. All to play for as we approach the last few days ahead of the referendum, what has Abadi got to say to convince the Kurds of postponing it, he must know by now that the Kurds are serious that the referendum will go ahead. Come to Baghdad for talks about talks will not wash, he must have something on the table worth inviting the Kurds to see him, the pressure is well and truly on.
  15. Abadi Invites Kurdistan for Further Negotiations over Referendum Basnews English 12/09/2017 - 21:48 Iraq ERBIL — As Kurds insist on their plan to hold the independence referendum on time, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has called for a new round of talks over the political disputes between Erbil and Baghdad. During his weekly press conference in Baghdad, Abadi reiterated that Erbil’s plan to conduct the independence vote threatens the unity of Iraq, and council of ministers still thinks the move is not legal. The statement comes after the Iraqi parliament voted to reject the independence referendum, a decision which was immediately ruled out by the Kurdish lawmakers in the parliament. However, Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani has already made it clear that there is no turning back on the referendum decision, and that the people will go to the polls on 25th September.
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