Northern Iraq warned against unilateral oil export deals

Iraq_KurdistanIraq has warned the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan that its oil export deals with Turkey must have Baghdad's approval

The statement was made after Iraqi Kurdistan natural resources minister, Ashti Hawrami, announced plans to build a million-barrel oil pipeline in the next 12 months for oil to go through Turkey for the international market that would bypass Baghdad. He also announced plans to barter crude oil with refined petroleum products.

"We have no problem with any deals, but they have to be according to the Iraqi constitution and laws that govern relations between Baghdad and the [northern] Kurdish region," said Iraqi government media adviser Ali al-Moussawi.

The Northern Iraq government has clashed with Baghdad over the right to develop and export the north's natural resources with the federal government insisting that all the exports must run through state pipelines.

Since the 2003 invasion, the Iraqi Kurdistan region's government has signed a series oil contracts that Baghdad considers illegal, going as far to blacklist some of the companies involved.

In early 2011, the two sides struck a tentative deal after which Northern Iraq sent oil to Baghdad which exported it and both sides shared the revenues equally. But last month, Northern Iraq stopped sending the oil due to a payment row.

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