April 13, 2016 / 3:22 PM / in 2 years

Kurdistan government needs support to plug $100 million monthly deficit

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq needs budget support to plug a monthly deficit of $100 million and would accept any conditions that might be placed on the aid, KRG Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani said on Wednesday.

Iraqi Kurdistan’s Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani speaks during an interview with Reuters in Erbil, January 14, 2016. REUTERS/Azad Lashkari

“We have absolutely no problems with any conditions that (would) be placed on financial assistance given to us,” Talabani said at a think tank conference, saying the KRG had made its need for budget support clear to the U.S. government.

The global oil price plunge has compounded Kurdistan’s economic woes, which began in early 2014 when Baghdad slashed funding to the region to punish it for exporting crude on its own terms in pursuit of economic independence from Iraq.

At the same conference, KRG Interior Minister Karim Sinjari said Iraqi Peshmerga forces would take part in any attack to retake Mosul from Islamic State militants but did not plan to enter the city.

Because of the financial situation, the KRG had not been able to pay the Peshmerga for three months, Sinjari said, saying this had contributed to a desertion rate of about 1 percent. If the budget crisis continues, he said the desertion rate would likely increase as fighters looked for other ways to make money.

Reporting by Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and James Dalgleish

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