Iraqi Kurdistan confident of compromise
with Baghdad over oil exports
ERBIL-Hewlęr, Kurdistan region 'Iraq',— Iraqi
Kurdistan is confident it can soon find a compromise
with Baghdad in a row over oil exports from the
autonomous region via a new pipeline to Turkey, a
spokesman said on Monday.
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) last week
said crude had begun to flow through its independent
pipeline to Turkey, and that exports were on track
to begin at the end of this month, rising in
February and March.
In an interview with Reuters on Sunday, Iraq's Prime
Minister Nuri al-Maliki
cut Kurdistan's 17 percent share of the federal
budget if exports via the pipeline went ahead
without central government consent.
A delegation led by Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan
Barzani is due in Baghdad soon to discuss the issue,
which stems from a fundamental, longstanding
disagreement over how to manage Iraq's resources and
divide the proceeds.
KRG spokesman Safeen Dizayee said the Kurds were
awaiting Baghdad's response to several unspecified
proposals, and were committed to an accord reached
in the Iraqi capital on December 25.
"The framework was already agreed in Baghdad - it's
more a matter of the technicalities," Dizayee told
Reuters, adding he was optimistic and foresaw no
major stumbling blocks. "It's just a matter of
sitting down and agreeing on it."
The details of the December 25 agreement have not
been disclosed but it called for joint committees to
resolve the dispute.
Crude from Kurdistan used to be shipped to Turkey
through a pipeline controlled by Baghdad,www.Ekurd.net
but those exports dried up a year ago due to a row
over payments for oil companies operating in the
Since then the Kurds have trucked smaller quantities
of crude to Turkey while laying their own
independent pipeline, angering Baghdad, which claims
sole authority over oil exports.
Previous rounds of talks have borne little fruit,
but industry sources say a bargain is still on the
"The Turks encouraged these negotiations," one
industry source said on condition of anonymity.
"The question is: if the Kurds negotiate in good
faith and Baghdad negotiates in good faith and there
is still no agreement, is that enough for Turkey to
honour its independent export agreement with
Kurdistan?" the source said.
"The answer is yes. And that pressure should lead to
a deal between Erbil and Baghdad that is mutually
beneficial for Iraq."
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