Kurdish government accepts Baghdad’s conditions to end dispute

A photo taken on October 29, 2017 shows the building of Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region's parliament in Arbil, Kurdistan's capital in northern Iraq. (AFP)
Updated 27 December 2017
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Kurdish government accepts Baghdad’s conditions to end dispute

BAGHDAD: The Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has agreed on the conditions stipulated by Baghdad’s federal government to solve outstanding problems between the two governments.
Talks will be resumed to end the punitive measures in the Kurdish region, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi said on Tuesday.
The KRG held a controversial referendum on independence in late September inside the region and disputed areas seized by the Kurdish forces during the past years.
Baghdad responded by imposing a series of punitive measures on the region including banning international flights into and from the region’s airports, shutting down the border crossings between the region, Turkey and Iran, and launching a huge military campaign to drive the Kurdish forces back to the 2005 constitutionally approved border.
Considering the September referendum illegal, Baghdad took steps to reinforce federal writ in and around the region, which has been autonomous since 2003. Abadi said there is a dispute between Baghdad and the KRG over the border of the region and the running of the border of the country.
“The constitution was clear relating to the border of the region and it was recognized (by the constitution) as the border of the region on March 9, 2001, but the regional (Kurdish) forces were out of these borders,” Abadi said on Tuesday in his weekly press conference.
“Also, the border (of the country) should be exclusively under the control of the federal government… so we took several measures to control the border and the border crossings.
“Now the regional government and the (Kurdish) officials said that they agree on these two points (conditions) and let’s talk,” Abadi said.
“I consider this an essential change… but we want to reiterate two things — which are the referendum was illegal and (there will be) no return to it (the results) again. The second thing is the recognition of the 2003 borders of the region and the borders (of the country) should be under the control of the central government.”


New social deal signed in Morocco, salaries to rise

Updated 26 April 2019
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New social deal signed in Morocco, salaries to rise

  • The minimum wage, currently 2,570 dirhams a month ($266), will be increased by 10 percent over two years from July
  • Last July King Mohammed VI urged the government to take “urgent action” to address social issues

RABAT: The Moroccan government on Thursday announced a “new social deal” with employers and the main labor unions, under which many workers will enjoy a pay rise.
The deal agreed by the General Confederation of Moroccan Businesses (CGEM) and the three main unions — the UMT, UGTM and UNMT — is the fruit of months of negotiations
The minimum wage, currently 2,570 dirhams a month ($266), will be increased by 10 percent over two years from July, except for the agricultural sector.
Government-paid family allowances will also rise.
Meanwhile public sector workers will be given a 300-500 dirham monthly pay increase over three years.
Of Morocco’s main trade unions only the Democratic Labour Confederation has not signed the social deal which, according to the government statement, is aimed at “improving spending power and the social climate.”
Last July King Mohammed VI urged the government to take “urgent action” to address social issues, in particular health and education in the north African country which has been hit by protests over employment and corruption.
Mohammed VI pointed to social support and social protection programs that “overlap each other, suffer from a lack of consistency and fail to effectively target eligible groups.”
After months of stalemate, the dossier was handed to the interior ministry at the beginning of the year and the final rounds of talks were held.
The social unrest began in October 2016 after the death of a fisherman and spiralled into a wave of protests demanding more development in the neglected Rif region and railing against corruption and unemployment.
Morocco is marked by glaring social and territorial inequalities, against a backdrop of high unemployment among young people. In 2018, it was ranked 123rd out of 189 countries and territories on the Human Development Index.