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Draft Law on Oil Money Moves to Iraqi Cabinet
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Draft Law on Oil Money Moves to Iraqi
February 19, 2007
Iraq, February 18, -- A draft version of the
long-awaited law that would govern the development
of Iraqi oil fields and the distribution of oil
revenues has been submitted to Iraq’s cabinet, the
first step toward approving the legislation, two
members of a senior negotiating committee said this
The move seemed to signal that negotiators had
arrived at the outlines of a compromise that would
satisfy the Kurdish, Shiite and Sunni members of the
committee and break a deadlock that has held up
approval of the law for months.
Because the Iraqi budget depends almost entirely on
oil revenues, the law is considered an essential
element of creating a stable and functioning
Earlier drafts of the law described to The New York
Times indicate that Iraq’s central government in
Baghdad would retain substantial control over oil
revenues and the right to review the contracts that
regional governments sign with Iraqi and
international companies to develop the fields and to
Negotiations had snagged because of the insistence
by the Kurds that they maintain a degree of autonomy
in managing their northern fields.
But two members of the negotiating committee
confirmed that a draft had been sent to the cabinet,
indicating that a compromise might be in sight.
Neither of those negotiators — Hussain al-Shahristani,
the current oil minister, and Thamir Ghadban, a
former oil minister — provided details of the
But a senior official in the Kurdish regional
government also said that a deal was near and hinted
that the Kurds had received concessions on how the
law would affect existing contracts with oil
companies that agreed to work in the north.
If the cabinet approves the draft law, it would then
be sent to Parliament for ratification.
Parliament for the most part automatically passes
laws that have been approved by leaders of the main
political parties, which run along ethnic and
Qais Mizher contributed reporting from Baghdad and
Yerevan Adham from Iraqi Kurdistan.
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